Life jacket a lifesaver in reuniting family with pup
BY ERIKA WURST firstname.lastname@example.org May 29, 2012 6:28PM
Linn Lewis can only smile that her 5-year-old Pomeranian 'Tank' is safe and sound on Tuesday, May 29, 2012 at her husband's doctor's office in Geneva. Tank went overboard from his owners boat into the Chicago River on the Memorial Day weekend, but was found safe Monday afternoon. l Steven Buyansky~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 3, 2012 12:37PM
GENEVA — Tank the Pomeranian was one popular pup Tuesday afternoon as he sat reunited in his master’s arms.
It had been a scary couple of days for the dog, who fell overboard on Sunday during a family outing on the Chicago River.
Tank’s owners, Mark and Linn Lewis of St. Charles, were spending the day on the river when at some point, around 7 p.m., they noticed the dog had disappeared.
“We were panicked, absolutely panicked,” Linn Lewis said Tuesday from her husband’s Geneva medical practice as media outlets made their rounds. “We started the search right away. (Tank) is the love of our lives.”
Luckily, the little furball was wearing a bright yellow life vest when he toppled over, which they thought might have helped him doggie-paddle safely to shore.
“The life jacket was definitely an amazing thing,” Linn said.
But with no identifying dog tags around his neck on this outing, Linn was nervous Tank would never be found. She immediately contacted the press, and sent out photos of Tank, hoping to garner attention to their case.
As night wore on, the family searched high and low, retiring at about 3 a.m.
By morning, the media had grabbed onto the story, and word about Tank’s travels had spread throughout the city — and then, a bite.
A Monday night phone call to the Lewis’ home brought a sliver of hope. The life-saving vest served as a means of recognition. A woman had spotted Tank and his yellow vest, and after seeing his story on the news, reached out to the Lewis family.
Mark Lewis, though excited, remained level-headed. It had been 24 hours since Tank was sighted by the Chicago woman. What were the odds that he was still around?
Eager to give the lead a shot, Mark drove to the city and combed the streets calling his dog’s name — but he never heard a bark back. Downtrodden and discouraged, Mark said he was about to start spreading fliers when he received a second call.
This one came just an hour after Monday’s 10 p.m. news aired. Katherine Santos, who lives a few blocks from Tank’s initial sighting, called to say she had found the pup. She said Tank approached her as she played with her dog in the park. Mark said the life vest tipped Santos off that something was amiss, and she brought him home to care for. When relatives heard about the dog, they connected the case to the one they had seen on TV. Mark quickly rushed to his pup’s side.
“He’s been a busy, busy boy,” Linn Lewis said of the pup. “I was happy there were so many animal lovers out there that helped. ... I have so much more faith in humanity now. Chicagoans have been awesome.”