Two-year-old Harper was in a real pickle.
On the edge of the river, Gabe Castellanos was celebrating his birthday. He spotted Harper struggling and suited up with a life jacket to go rescue her.
As he swam out to Harper, bystanders watched the drama unfold from the pier and a police helicopter hovered overhead.
Castellanos reached the dog, but Harper was so scared, she bit him on the hand and face.
"She caught me there with her upper canines and her lower jaw hit me right square in the front teeth," Castellanos told Inside Edition, adding that one of his teeth is now fake.
It didn't deter Castellanos, who wrapped an arm around Harper and swam back to shore, blood streaming down his face. Cheers could be heard as he approached the rocks.
Castellanos said he has no hard feelings for Harper.
"I was like, 'Aw it's alright, I needed teeth work anyway,'" he said.
Harper's owner, Erin O’Donnell, is eternally grateful to Castellanos.
"Thank you, Gabe, and I hope you're feeling better," O'Donnell told Inside Edition of her message for the hero.