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Dog rescued, found treading water in Tampa Bay

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ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) -

Imagine being out on a boat, looking out on the water and seeing -- a dog's snout?

That's what some fisherman stumbled across this week in the waters of Tampa Bay -- a little dog that was treading water, about a mile offshore, and no one knows for how long.

She is safe and sound now, and waiting to be reunited with her owner -- who may not even realize she's still alive.

Her name is "Baby." It says so right on her rhinestone collar and little pink bone tag.

There is even a number on the back of the tag with a 305 area code -- but her rescuers say that number is disconnected.

Anthony Basile took her in from the fishermen who spotted her out in the waves.

"On the horizon they could see just her nose sticking out of the water," Basile said.

The fishermen pulled into the St. Petersburg's Demen's Landing Thursday morning, where Anthony Basile was paying his dock fee.

"I put towels on her. Warm towels on her, put the heat on in the boat. She shook for ten hours straight," Basile said. "When we first found her, I didn't think she was going to live."

Basile estimates the little dog had been in the water for six to eight hours. She was cold and terrified, and needed help.

"I would just pet her and feed her by hand, and give her water. It took all night," he said.

But now she trusts him, and won't let him out of her sight. A scan revealed a microchip, but the number doesn't work.

It all seems to lead to one dead end after another. But Basile says there is no doubt in his mind: this is someone's dog. She may trust him now, but she is looking for her owner.

"It makes me want to cry," Basile said, holding back tears. "It's sad. The dog's lost. She can't do anything for herself, she needs help. Nobody seems to be able to find anything."

Basile said he will keep her as long as he can, hopeful that he can get her back to her rightful owner. If not, he says he will work to find a good home for her, possibly with one of his family members.

In the meantime, he hopes someone recognizes her, and comes forward.

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