Richard Absalom was walking his 14-week-old Doberman on the beach in Mumbles, U.K., when the dog started barking at the edge of the water.
"Wilson does not like the sea but he ran to the water's edge," Absalom told BBC News. "He never normally goes in the sea but his paws were in the water."
The puppy was agitated by a man caught in a current and silently signalling for help. The swimmer couldn't yell over the choppy waters pouring into his mouth.
Absalom ran to the nearby lifeboat station where he'd been a volunteer for five years. There, he found two colleagues to help.
"We launched the boat and by the time we got to him he was exhausted, clinging on to a rocky outcrop on the island," Absalom said. "We got him on board and took him back to the beach."
The swimmer was repeatedly expressing his gratitude to the men who saved his life.
"It's not every day we act on information from a pet, but we're looking forward to welcoming Wilson to the Mumbles lifeboat family as he is showing plenty of potential!" lifeboat operations manager Tim Conway told the South Wales Evening Post.