Seaside Heights police officers make shocking water rescue on Thanksgiving

Two Seaside Heights police officers were in the right place at the right time to rescue a lost dog.

News 12 Staff

Nov 30, 2022, 12:56 PM

Updated 590 days ago


Two Seaside Heights police officers were in the right place at the right time to rescue a lost dog.
A Chihuahua named Gazelle went missing on Thanksgiving Day.
“My wife was cooking. [Gazelle] became very afraid of the fire alarm – smoke alarm – and she was hiding behind the couch, going in the chairs. First chance she had when the door was cracked open – she’s only 7 pounds – she went right through it,” says the dog’s owner Rick McDonnell.
McDonnell says his family adopted Gazelle in February. In less than an hour, Gazelle ended up about a mile away under the bridge from Pelican Island to Seaside Heights. By chance, Officers Shawn Heckler and Eddie Pasieka were on their patrol vessel checking out reports of an abandoned boat.
This is when they spotted Gazelle.
“My partner said to me, ‘Is that a dog?’ I said, ‘No, I think it's a fox,’ because of the larger ears,” says Heckler. “We got closer and sure enough it was a tiny Chihuahua there in the water.”
The officers were able to grab the dog before she was hurt.
“By the time we got to her, she was freezing. She was shivering and in a bad situation,” says Heckler.
Gazelle’s family says it was luck that the officers were there.
“We never would have looked there, and I was looking all over the place, and I did not think of looking near a bridge or under a bridge or in the bay,” says McDonnell.
Because of the officers' efforts and a whole lot of holiday luck, the McDonnell family had plenty to be thankful for that evening.
“Obviously would be a lot of heartache in my house if they weren't in the spot they were in and saw Gazelle,” says McDonnell.
Because Gazelle was chipped and tagged it only took a few minutes for police to locate her owners. They want to remind everybody, especially during the holidays, to make sure new pets have the proper identification on them.

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