updated 5/3/2007 4:13:40 PM ET 2007-05-03T20:13:40

A 72-year-old man feared for his life after his dog overturned his small boat — but the springer spaniel made up for it by swimming 400 yards to shore to fetch help.

Al Lotrecchiano was fishing on Lake Gilead on Wednesday and had just caught what he said was the largest bass in his life. As he was throwing the fish back in the water, the dog put its paw on the side of the boat, flipping it over.

"My life flashed before me," Lotrecchiano recalled Thursday.

Lotrecchiano started swimming to shore but, figuring he'd never make it, quickly returned to his boat and clung to the side. Bucky swam to shore and ran home barking, Carmel Fire Chief Darryl Johnson said.

Lotrecchiano's wife, Dimmy, heard the barking and stepped outside their lake shore home to see what was happening. She then heard her husband's screams for help.

At about the same time, a neighbor called 911 to report a man calling for help from the lake, said Carmel police Lt. Brian Karst.

Lotrecchiano was rescued after about 45 minutes in the water. He was treated for hypothermia at a hospital.

"Thank God the dog did what the dog did," Lotrecchiano said.

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