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Over the River and Through the Tunnel: This Runaway Puppy From Brooklyn is Ready for His Forever Home

Pup who swam in Gowanus Bay and ran through Battery, Holland tunnels to be released from Brooklyn animal hospital on Wednesday
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Photo: Suppled/VERGE Brooklyn

A Brooklyn puppy who recently made headlines after escaping from a Red Hook yard, swam in the Gowanus Bay and then ran through the Holland Tunnel into New Jersey is scheduled to be released from Veterinary Emergency and Referral Group (VERG) Brooklyn on Wednesday.

According to veterinarians at VERG, Bailey, who was brought into the 24-hour emergency animal hospital on May 8, suffered three full-thickness wounds over his right ankle and paw, as well as abrasions to his face, during his 10-day, six-mile trek across two states.

“He is all healed and ready to go home,” said Dr. Dong-Woo Jin, a DVM in VERG’s Surgery Department. “He had lost some weight while running around the city, but he’s back to normal and is doing great except for some trust and behavioral issues.”

The eight-month-old German Shepherd-Akita mix managed to break out of his fenced-in yard in Red Hook on Apr. 29. Following his escape, Bailey was spotted swimming in the East River before being herded back to shore by a good Samaritan. After a quick bask in the sun, Bailey vanished once more.

A few days later, tips began pouring in that Bailey had been spotted near the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel entrance. Before too long, New York commuters began posting on social media that a dog was running loose in the tunnel.

“We were doing everything we could to track him down, but as quickly as we would find out where he was, he was gone,” said Harriet Zucker, the director of Red Hook Dog Rescue who had been helping Bailey through behavioral issues for several weeks before his escape.

“I just couldn’t believe he had made it to Manhattan, especially because he had never been out on his own like that before.”

That Saturday while Zucker was posting flyers in downtown Manhattan, she received a call from Port Authority police saying Bailey had been spotted in the North Tube of the Holland Tunnel, eventually crossing over into Jersey City where he was corralled in the parking garage of a Home Depot and brought to VERG for his injuries.

"We're talking with the officers that originally made contact and they're saying this dog is from New York,” said Andrew Vignapiano, the police officer who apprehended Bailey in Jersey City. “I'm going, ‘From New York? How is that possible?’"

Zucker, who was instrumental in helping to track down Bailey during his adventure, hopes that the puppy’s newfound fame will draw the ire of foster parents or a forever home that can help him work through his issues.

“We’re just so glad he’s safe and doing well. Despite the ruckus he caused over that week and a half, he really is a loving puppy when you gain his trust,” said Zucker.

Those interested in adopting or fostering Bailey, or would like to donate to help fund the cost for his medical treatment and care at VERG, can find more information by contacting Zucker at or 520.200.7437.


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