When Bryant Fritz went fishing in early November, he didn’t expect his biggest catch of the day to be a dog.
He first spotted the dog trapped in a crate dumped in Kaufman Lake in Champaign, Illinois. Just the dog’s head was above the freezing water. Being a lifelong dog lover, Fritz knew just what he had to do. He shed a few layers of clothing and waded into the frigid water to save the dog.
Fritz brought the dog to shore and saw she was just a puppy. Covered in wounds with missing fur, it was obvious this little girl had a rough start in life.
Fritz immediately called the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital to alert them he was bringing a dog who desperately needed treatment for hypothermia, visible wounds, and possibly more. She was shivering so severely Fritz stopped on the way to grab her a warm blanket.
As he was filling out the hospital paperwork, Fritz realized he wanted to keep this little girl if she made it through her ordeal.
Fritz, a middle school science teacher, and his girlfriend Krystal decided if all went well, they would name her Dory after the Disney character voiced by Ellen DeGeneres in Finding Nemo. And like Dory, “she didn’t quit in that water,” Fritz told Rover.
The story went viral, and DeGeneres herself found out and invited the couple on her show. That’s when they told the world Dory’s story and announced her adoption. DeGeneres surprised them with gifts from her very own pet line.
The surprises didn’t stop there. Fritz got down on his knee and proposed to Krystal. It’s how he asked that made us love this tale even more: “Will you be the mother to our Dory? Will you be my wife, and will you marry me?”
Krystal said yes, and we’re so happy she did. We know Dory will love it, too. Maybe she’ll even be the flower girl at the wedding. If she is, we want to see the photos!
Degeneres sealed the deal with an engagement gift, presenting the couple with a check from her partnership with Furbo for $25,000. Now that’s a happy ending!
“Please consider adoption,” Fritz told Rover. “There are so many incredible animals that need homes. They will change your life. I promise.”
Fritz added: “We can make a difference. When things get tough, just keep swimming like Dory.”
Follow Dory on her brand new Instagram page.
Featured photos by Bryant Fritz.