Happy reunion for St. Charles man, dog
By Ashley Rhodebeck
Thursday, May 31, 2012
ST. CHARLES – Mark Lewis is a bit astounded by the attention his search for his lost dog, a 5-1⁄2-year-old blond Pomeranian named Tank, received this week from the Chicago media.
Sitting in his Geneva medical office Wednesday, Lewis – a family practitioner – repeatedly said it was his mistake that Tank wasn’t clipped into the 20-foot Bayliner day boat like he normally is. The secured leash is long enough for him to maneuver around the boat but short enough to prevent him from going over the side.
The Lewises, along with their 8-month-old dog, Cali, spent the afternoon at the beach and downtown before deciding to stay to see the city at night, Lewis said. To kill time, they motored north on the Chicago River and got as far as Lawrence Avenue before the shallowness forced them to turn around and head south. They stopped at Goose Island at about 6:30 p.m.
“That’s when we noticed Tank was missing,” Lewis said, “We didn’t know where Tank had fallen off.”
In retrospect, Lewis said he believes that Tank lost his balance as he made the three-point turn farther north. Tank, who was wearing a yellow life vest, most likely swam to shore, Lewis said.
Sunday, Lewis and his wife, Linn, were in panic mode. They quickly retraced their steps during the daylight, and at 8 p.m., they notified the Chicago Police Department, who forwarded them to the police marine unit, Lewis said. The marine unit helped briefly, and the couple continued their search of the river until 2:30 a.m. and searched on land for another hour. They got home about 4 a.m.
Monday morning, Lewis said he turned to the media for help, thinking TV viewers could be his eyes. Four news stations interviewed the couple at their home, and their story was aired on the 5 and 10 p.m. broadcasts.
She recommended Lewis check River Park – the location of a neighborhood cookout Sunday evening. Lewis resumed his search and received two other calls from people who had seen Tank.
“I was convinced he was close,” Lewis said.
At 11:15 p.m., Lewis said he was about ready to give up for the day when he got a call from nearby resident Katherine Santos. She said she had his dog – Tank befriended her and her dog that morning. Within 15 minutes, he and Tank were reunited.
Santos refused to accept Lewis’ monetary reward, he said. When he spoke to her again Tuesday, they decided to donate the reward money to the Anti-Cruelty Society in Chicago.