STONY BROOK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A retired Long Island doctor who had been missing for three days is speaking out for the first time since he was found alive last week.

Dr. Jerome Nadler told 1010 WINS reporter Mona Rivera that he remembers being dehydrated and trapped in bramble at Caleb Smith State Park Preserve.

1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reports

“I was able to move around but I couldn’t stand and caused a wound in my right elbow by using my elbow by pushing myself along, not that I knew where I was going,” Nadler said.

The 76-year-old said he knew that he could die.

“It rained on one or two days and I remember cupping my mouth and trying to collect as much rainwater as I could,” Nadler said. “That’s one thing that I did to try and survive.”

The Vietnam War veteran said he was fly fishing in the park on Labor Day when he started feeling dehydrated and sat down to drink a Diet Coke.

“That’s the last thing I can remember,” Nadler said.

By the time “Chase,” a 4-year-old Suffolk County Police K-9 dog, found Nadler around noon Thursday in a thick wooded area of the park, the doctor said he was unconscious.

“I don’t remember being rescued,” Nalder said. “I wasn’t awake.”

However, the officers who found Nadler said the doctor was alert and able to speak to them.

“He wasn’t hurt. I asked if he knew where he was, he knew exactly where he was. He knew what his name was, he knew that he was a doctor, and jokingly he said he was just sleeping,” Suffolk Police Officer William Krolikiewicz said.

Nadler, who is recovering at Stony Brook University Hospital, said he is lucky to be alive.

“I just don’t remember much about what went on. I just knew that I wanted to try and survive. I couldn’t stand. I was was a little cut up from thorny green vines, ripped me up pretty badly,” Nadler told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan.

“If it went any longer I might not have survived,” Nadler added.

Chase was awarded a small steak dinner for his efforts and was named K-9 of the Year by the Suffolk County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty over the weekend.

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