News & Politics  |  Pets

Guess How That Shih Tzu Got Stranded on the Bridge. Hint: It Has to Do With the Cherry Blossoms.

The story is every dog owner's worst nightmare.

Whiskey was rescued on Sunday and returned to his family. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Ferguson.

True story: A shih tzu-poodle mix got stranded on a bridge over the Potomac River on Sunday. Then got rescued! But police had no idea who he belonged to. But now the owners have been found!

The doggie drama started Sunday, when the pup—with no tags or collar—was discovered by US Park Police on a railroad bridge abutment in SW DC. Soon, DC Fire and EMS arrived with rescue vehicles on land and on sea, just in case the pup decided to go for a swim. But in the end, no boat was needed.

So who is this cutie and how did he get up on the bridge anyway?

His name is Whiskey, he’s two, and he belongs to Virginia Beach resident Elizabeth Ferguson. What began as a springtime jaunt to visit the cherry blossoms with her husband, son, and “shih-poos” Whiskey and Zulu soon became every dog owner’s worst nightmare.

The group was walking through the Wharf when seven-pound Whiskey slipped out of a loose collar, escaping into the crowd sans tags. Ferguson and her family searched for hours on foot, placing calls to pet rescues across DC and Northern Virginia in hopes someone had spotted the runaway pooch.

“We were like, ‘No one is going to turn him in, they’re going to keep him because he is so sweet,’ ” says Ferguson. “I just felt like I’d never see him again.”

Finally, Ferguson began to drive back to Virginia when she received a call from the Humane Rescue Alliance. A dog fitting the profile had been found, and through an exchange of photos, the pup was identified as Whiskey. Happy to be reunited with their pet, the Fergusons didn’t actually learn of Whiskey’s grand adventure until friends saw him on the news.

Back in the comfort of his own home, Whiskey has been dining on tuna and bologna while donning a now-tightened collar. “If you don’t believe in miracles,” says Ferguson, “you would after this.”



Daniella Byck
Lifestyle Editor

Daniella Byck joined Washingtonian in 2022. She was previously with Outside Magazine and lives in Northeast DC.