Man takes plunge for pet

Manette resident Jeff Fisher proved jumping off the back of a Washington State Ferry boat can get you a few laughs and put you in contact with a few old friends.

Fisher’s dog slipped off the side of a ferry boat on a run from Seattle to Bremerton Friday evening, Aug. 13.

The former lifeguard, 34, plucked up a life preserver and jumped in the Puget Sound after him.

After a rescue attempt from ferry officials, both man and dog were safe and sound.

After the incident, ferry officials said Fisher put his life in great danger.

“First off, dogs are supposed to be on a leash when they are on the ferry,” said the Washington State Ferries’ Spokeswoman Patricia Patterson. “Second, if you lose anything off the ferry don’t go in after it. It is very serious.”

At work in the week after the incident, Fisher said he got laughs from fellow employees about the story. His boss didn’t even believe him.

“It did get me in contact with some old friends I hadn’t talked to in years,” he said.

After Fisher jumped off the auto ferry Hyak, around 7:15 p.m., the Capt. stopped the boat and dozens of people crowded to the windows and outside walkways watching the rescue attempt.

Some people expressed bewildered looks and others pointed excitedly at the shapes bobbing in the water.

The vessel’s two Able Seamen Merrill Hoyt and Jon Urdahl launched a boat and picked up the man and then his pup out of the water.

Ferry riders cheered as the group pulled up to dock.

The cold blue Puget Sound didn’t scare Fisher one bit, he said.

Saving his black Labrador-blue heeler named Rueben was worth the wet clothes.

But his wife wasn’t too happy he jumped off.

“I’m still shaking,” said Fisher’s pregnant wife Samantha.

“I didn’t need to lose my husband and my dog five weeks before I give birth.” she said. “I love that dog but there was no way in the world I would jump in after him.”

Her husband, who was given a blanket from ferry workers, was swarmed by ferry riders after the incident.

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