Rory O'Connor was fishing half a mile out at sea, on a Florida vacation and caught something much more surprising than a fish. A dog, swimming for dear life in the Gulf of Mexico after surviving an experience nobody could have imagined.
In a Skype interview with INSIDE EDITION's Paul Boyd, O'Connor told Boyd, "I kind of did the classic double-take - what's a dog doing here?"
The mystery deepens as O'Connor, who set up a camera to videotape himself catching fish, pulled the pooch aboard and sees that he's hurt.
"His legs had bleeding wounds, he was in really bad shape," O'Connor said.
Here's what happened, back on dry land, the dog, whose name is Barney, had been out jogging with his owner, Donna Chen, on the island off Sarasota, when suddenly, they were hit by a car.
Police say 22-year-old Blake Talman was driving drunk when he struck them, and kept going. Sadly, Donna Chen was killed but Barney ran off, reached the shoreline and started swimming.
Of course, O'Connor had no way of knowing any of this, he asked passengers on a passing boat if the dog was theirs.
Once they got ashore, the dog was frozen with fear, too frightened to budge from the kayak, while O'Connor continued trying to solve the mystery.
It turns out Barney is microchipped, solving the mystery of his identity and his injuries.
Meanwhile, the driver faces charges including DUI manslaughter in the death of Donna Chen, a mother of three.
A sad story with a bittersweet ending, thanks to a big-hearted tourist with a beloved dog of his own.
O'Connor said, "It's a terrible tragedy. I'm really happy Barney's okay and back with his family because they really need him right now."