Kayak angler Rory O’Connor didn’t know why the dog was swimming nearly a mile offshore, but he could see that the animal was hurt and scared. Only later, after he’d pulled the dog into his kayak and posted a video of the rescue to YouTube, did he learn the tragic, and oddly redemptive, story of Barney the dog.

Earlier Saturday afternoon, 53-year-old Donna Chen, a mother of three from Sarasota, Fla., had been walking the Hungarian Vizsla on a Sarasota sidewalk when a drunk driver struck and killed her. The traumatized dog bolted, running about a mile to the beach and, after he ran out of land, swimming into the Gulf of Mexico. That’s where O’Connor, a kayak fisherman visiting from Bellingham, Wash., called Barney to his kayak and lifted him aboard. The driver of the vehicle has been charged with vehicular manslaughter. He and his passenger were slightly injured. Barney has been reunited with the Chen family thanks to an implanted microchip ID.

Read more about the case HERE.