On July 19, amidst a scorching 90-degree day in New York City, a concerned dock worker noticed a distressed dog fighting to stay afloat in the Harlem River. With urgency, the worker swiftly reached out to grab the struggling canine, making valiant efforts to prevent it from submerging. However, due to the formidable force of the current, the worker found himself incapable of single-handedly hoisting the hefty 60 lb. dog to safety.
Luckily, the FDNY Marine Unit happened to be carrying out drills in the vicinity and spotted the dock worker and the dog. They swiftly rescued the distressed dog, bringing him aboard their boat, and subsequently took him to Animal Care Centers of NYC. The next day, the dog, Aqua, was transferred to the ASPCA Animal Recovery Center.
Aqua during and after his rescue by the FDNY. (Courtesy FDNY)
The case was investigated by the NYPD’s Animal Cruelty Investigation Squad. It’s unclear how Aqua ended up in the river, and he wasn’t microchipped.
Aqua aboard the FDNY’s Marine Unit. (Courtesy FDNY)
From Heroism to Healing
At the ASPCA, Aqua was examined by Dr. Aubrey Crowley, Medical Supervisor of the Animal Recovery Center.
“Aqua had several fresh wounds on his body that may have been caused by something in the river,” says Dr. Crowley. “We anesthetized him so his wounds could be thoroughly cleaned. Additionally, we closed the largest wound, on his back, with sutures. He healed well and, shortly after, was neutered and moved to the Adoption Center.”
Aqua’s wounds included a large laceration on his back that was cleaned and surgically closed.
A Fortunate Visit
After Aqua moved to the Adoption Center, Congressmember Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11)—who represents a New York district that spans the boroughs of Brooklyn and Staten Island—visited the ASPCA to discuss an unrelated animal cruelty case and learn more about the lifesaving services the ASPCA’s provides to animals and pet parents across the five boroughs.
The ASPCA Adoption Center’s Delia Kurland, Senior Director of Operations, shows Representative Malliotakis one of the puppies from a cruelty case in Staten Island, a district the congressmember represents
While on a tour of the Adoption Center, Representative Malliotakis, a fervent supporter of bolstering animal cruelty laws, came across Aqua and immediately sensed a bond. Requesting a final glimpse of him before departing the facility, she couldn’t help but continuously ponder over the encounter.
Representative Malliotakis, with her Chihuahua named Peanut, visited the Adoption Center a couple of days later to offer her services as a volunteer and foster Aqua.
A few days later, Representative Malliotakis arrived at the Adoption Center accompanied by her Chihuahua, Peanut. She expressed her willingness to volunteer and provide foster care for Aqua.
Aqua easily adapted to his new foster home and accompanied Representative Malliotakis throughout her Congressional district, even dedicating a day to welcome visitors at her campaign office.
The congressmember, who co-sponsors the ASPCA-backed legislation Goldie’s Act, emphasizes that safeguarding animal welfare has always been a top concern since their tenure in the New York State Assembly. They firmly believe that animal cruelty should not be tolerated in our society. Goldie’s Act aims to hold the USDA accountable for upholding its obligations under the Animal Welfare Act, ensuring enhanced protection for dogs and puppies in licensed breeding facilities.
Campaigning for An Adopter
Using her connections, Representative Malliotakis utilized her networks to locate a suitable residence for Aqua, even though she was unable to provide a permanent home for him.
In no time, a willing adopter for Aqua was found in Washington, D.C. Jaide B. was fortunate to be the one who adopted the lucky dog on August 26th, providing her with a new loving home.
Jaide and her fiancé have a service dog named Thor, who is a Lab-pit bull mix. Thor is friendly, sociable, and enjoys playing with other dogs. Recently, Jaide expressed her gratitude to the ASPCA, mentioning that Aqua is incredibly sweet.
Aqua with his adopter, Jaide.
Representative Malliotakis expresses that fostering and adoption offer individuals solace and camaraderie while aiding shelters in preserving their capacity and resources. Malliotakis, who had a delightful experience with Aqua, strongly encourages everyone to contribute to their community shelter through fostering, adopting, or volunteering.