SMITHTOWN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A retired doctor who had been missing in Suffolk County was found alive Thursday.

Jerome Nadler, 76, was located after a days-long search of Caleb Smith State Park Preserve and neighboring areas, WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported.

1010 WINS’ Eileen Lehpamer Reports

“He’s a very tough individual, he’s a U.S. Navy veteran, Vietnam veteran,” Nadler’s son, Matthew, told WCBS 880’s Hall.

WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall Reports

Jerome Nadler was last seen on Labor Day when he had gone fly fishing. He was discovered in a thick area of woods by a Suffolk County police K-9 unit, New York State Park Police Capt. Bruce Marx told 1010 WINS.

A 4-year-old German Shepard named “Chase” picked up the scent of the missing East Setauket doctor while searching the park at noon and finding a tiny vile of a fishing product.

Chase stayed by Jerome Nadler’s side until human assistance arrived, WCBS 880’s Hall reported.

“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.

img 20120906 00486 Missing East Setauket Doctor, Jerome Nadler, Found Alive On Long Island

Chase, the police dog that found Dr. Jerome Nadler is seen in Smithtown, NY – Sep 6, 2012 (credit: Sophia Hall / WCBS 880)

Marx said it appeared Nadler had been there for a few days. He had been drinking rainwater to stay alive, authorities said.

“He was full of bug bites. He was able to speak and he asked to have a drink of water,” Marx said. “They asked him his name, he said his name and then they whisked him out of the area.”

“We couldn’t believe he was alive…very relieved [he was] still alive, Krolikiewicz told CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff. “Where he was there was no water around.  The only thing I can assume that with all the rain we had, that might’ve helped him.”

A helicopter was used to take Nadler, who has a heart condition, to Stony Brook University Hospital, where he was in rough shape, CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported.

“[He] still had the appearances of someone who had struggled through thorny thickets of woods at the same time,” a doctor said.

It is not yet known why Nadler was not able to get out of the woods.

Nadler is listed in serious condition, his family said. They added:

“We would like to thank the New York State Forest Rangers, New York State Park Police, Suffolk County Police, including the K-9 and Marine Units, for their dedicated, untiring efforts to locate Jerome. We would especially like to acknowledge Chief Richard O’Donnell of the New York State Park Police, Capt. Bruce Marx of the New York State Park Police, Long Island District, and Sgt. Manuel M. Vilar of the New York State Park Police. We are also extremely grateful for the love, support and prayers of our friends, family, community, and the Chabad at Stony Brook during this difficult time.”

Chase, who is said to have made all the difference in this case, was to be treated to a steak dinner Thursday night, Gusoff reported.

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