Last night my good friend and I decided to go for a walk. She thought a back-country trail hike was in order. Upon trail entry, we soon realized that this may have been a poor choice due to the long sheet of ice that lay before us. Yet, we pushed on.
Our first adventure was helping a young girl to find her mischievous Golden Retriever. This happened without much fanfare or effort. We pushed on.
We finally hit the river trail and were rewarded with mud as opposed to ice. Due to the lack of grip found on either of our footwear, we were delighted with the mud. We pushed on.
Halfway down the river trail we came across what was to be our second adventure. First we spotted the dog. The dog was halfway across one of the many barriers/dams that exist along the river. They don’t do much to prevent water flow, but seem to create step-levels throughout the river. We then spotted the owner. He was standing on a part of the barrier that was connected with the land, but was prevented from moving to the dog due to fast flowing, icy-cold river water. Obviously the cement at that particular part of the barrier had decayed.
We were unsure as to what exactly was going on so we decided to stop and watch. The owner was breaking down a larger stick to create something more manageable for his canine friend. The dog whined with excitement, or so we thought. He threw the stick, but the dog didn’t chase after it. It was at this moment we realized that this wasn’t a fun game of stick, that this dog wasn’t whining with excitement and that this dog was stuck in the middle of the river barrier.
How he got there, we didn’t know. Perhaps he, like many others, thought it was spring and jumped in to the enticing waters. Upon realizing the chill he likely swam to the closest possible piece of land – the barrier.
The scene continued to progress, the man took off his coat and shirt. Yes, his shirt. He started to yell at the dog, quite aggressively. At that moment, we decided to push on. We got to a bridge that allowed us to look back on the scene. To our dismay, the dog was still stuck. I dialed 911.
I explained the situation to the dispatch. She directed my call. We continued home.
Upon arrival home, I took my phone out of my pocket to see an incoming call from a private number. “Hello, my name is constable James. You called about a dog on the river. We’re here now with the fire truck and the boat. We’ve checked the river, but can’t see the dog or owner. Can you state where you saw him again?” I was shocked. Not only had they sent an officer, but the entire team in addition to a boat.
I confirmed the location and indicated that the owner had likely been able to get the dog. I thanked him profusely. I hung up and shared the story with my good friend – we laughed and kicked ourselves for not sticking around to watch.
We called 911 because we didn’t know how the scene would unfold. The main motivation came from the words of my friend, “I don’t want to wake up tomorrow and hear about a man and a dog that drowned in the river”. I agreed.
I wanted to share this story because it’s interesting (and a little bizarre), but more importantly, it demonstrates that help is only 3 numbers away. I know that not all policemen and women are good. I know that there have been a lot of issues with authority figures over the past year. However, we must remember that not all are bad. That many, I would say the majority of officers are truly there to serve and protect their community.
I encourage you to take a walk around your community this weekend – who knows what adventures lie ahead of you!