Barking NewsWater Safety

Life Jacket Saves Dog From Riptide in Jersey Shore

Dog Life Jacket, Surfers Save Opal’s Life

dog opal on the beach with a ball

At Outward Hound, we’re all about creating innovative products that solve problems and create a better way to play. When Jodi shared her incredible story about how our life jacket saved her dog from a strong current, we felt it could be beneficial to share with other pet parents.

Jodi and her 9-year-old Goldendoodle, Opal, are huge beach fans and often go to the Jersey Shore on the weekend. Opal took swimming lessons when she was younger and has had her Outward Hound Dawson Swim life jacket for over seven years.

On Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, Jodi and Opal were at Spring Lake Beach ready to play a game of fetch. Jodi is very cautious about not letting Opal in the water if she sees that the water is rough. Since the water was at low tide, she put Opal’s life jacket on and threw the ball into the water.

The first couple times Opal fetched the ball and came back without a problem. But the third time she went in, an unexpected and strong riptide swept her back. Before Jodi knew it, Opal was lost in the current. As she went further and further into the ocean, Jodi screamed,


Opal’s Rescue

opal the dog wearing outward hound granby life jacket

After hearing Jodi’s pleas for help, a surfer decided to go in to try and retrieve Opal, but was unsuccessful. When some of the other surfers saw what was going on, they joined in on the effort to save Opal.

The waves didn’t stop, and eventually, Jodi was unable to see Opal from the shore. Crying hysterically, Jodi suddenly saw Opal’s head pop up. One of the surfers had been able to retrieve Opal and was holding her up so Jodi could see she was OK. In the end, it took a total of six surfers to safely get her back to shore.

The surfers almost gave up because they, too, were getting pummeled into the rocks. The rescue was possible because the life jacket had grab handles on top. Jodi said in an email to us, “Because the life jacket had a handle and Opal is so used to wearing the jacket they were able to grab a hold of her! I owe everything to Outward Hound and the surfers!!”

As soon as she was out of the water, Jodi rushed Opal to the hospital to make sure everything was OK. The vet said she was perfectly fine and gave Opal some antibiotics as a preventative to avoid pneumonia.

Jodi and Opal’s vet said that if it weren’t for the dog life jacket, Opal likely wouldn’t have made it.

“That jacket was old and used all the time for years and we still use it! That’s amazing quality,” said Jodi. “Even the emergency doctors couldn’t believe how well it held up!”

Not only did the life jacket help save Opal’s life, it also prevented bruising the waves would have caused by pounding her against the rocks. The parts of Opal’s body the life jacket didn’t cover did had some scratches, but without a life jacket to cover her ribs, things could have been much worse.



Eventually Jodi and Opal’s story spread through the area. The rescue was featured in the local paper and on the radio in an effort to find the surfers to thank them and give them a reward. Jodi found all six of them!

We’re so relieved that Opal is safe and grateful that our product had such a strong impact on this particular day. Jodi, thank you for sharing your story with us!


Opal wearing her Outward Hound Dawson Swim Life Jacket

Life Jackets Could Save Your Dog

You can learn more about the importance of water safety for dogs and why your dog needs a life jacket here.

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Editor’s note: This post has been updated as of April 2021 to reflect the most pup-to-date information.

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