A love story: A man, a dog and the bridge that came between them

The Miami HeraldJuly 20, 2012 

David Bernstein looked into the dog's eyes and saw doom.

The 38-pound mixed terrier, wearing a pale red sweater, was on a path to tragedy, walking across the Brickell drawbridge Tuesday as it began rising over the Miami River.

Bernstein got out of his car, yelled, waved his arms. He kept focusing on those eyes and was determined to save her.

"She looked at me and I looked at her," he said. "She kept walking and I bolted, but it was too late."

The dog plunged 30 feet and disappeared.

Bernstein called 911. He pleaded with passing boaters to slow down and help in the search.

Nothing.

"She slipped just a foot away from my hands. As she fell, I heard one last yelp. I will never forget her face."

Bernstein, 37, didn't sleep all night, sobbing in his one-bedroom apartment at the side of his 2-year-old German shepherd, Branson.

The next day, Wednesday, Bernstein returned to the nearby bridge. He was determined to find his canine connection.

He at the bridge for hours. With the help of the tender, he scoured the underbelly of the road.

And there, on a puddle-filled concrete landing beneath the bridge, was the dog in the pale red sweater. She was walking in dirty water.

A maintenance worker lifted her to road level. Her fur was doused in mud and oil.

"I was in shock," Bernstein said. "This was a miracle, a miracle dog. I hugged her."

The dog was taken toBrickell Animal Hospital. the medical staff lookedher over: No broken bones, only some scrapes and bruises.

Damian Torres, a manager at the hospital, said the dog got a bath and is in great condition, considering the ordeal.

And she got a new name. Meet "Brickell," whose coat is now white again.

"She seems trained," Torres said Thursday.

"She listens to commands and is very well behaved.She is a little shaken still but is a happy dog."

So far no one has claimed to be Brickell's owner and she is "still in need of a loving home," Torres said.

"My goal is to get herreunited with her family, only if they are a good family," Bernstein said.

He says he plans to keep in touch with Brickell "forever."

"Dogs give the best love ever," he said. "Unconditional."

Bradenton Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service