A woman hiking along Washington’s Nooksack River was stunned when she spotted a dog on the other side barking to get her attention. The helpless pooch was sitting at a steep angle unable to bring himself to safety. Nearly impossible for the hiker to get across the raging river, she called local animal services.
Thankfully, volunteer rescuers from the Washington State Animal Response Team and Summit to Sound Search & Rescue showed up to bring the pooch to safety.
Much like the firefighters that worked tirelessly to save two horses stuck in ice, these rescuers didn’t give up until the dog was out of harm’s way.
Even though the rescue team came prepared, swiftwater rescues are very dangerous since it only takes six inches of running water to knock a person down.
“Rescuers are navigating potentially fatal forces and managing a panicked human or animal on top of it compounds the danger. Certification is expensive and constantly training as a team is vital because teamwork is the only path to success in a swiftwater rescue,” WASART spokesperson Michaela Eaves told LittleThings. “The trust amongst the team was the one aspect that allowed us to succeed.”
One look at the jaw-dropping photos below and the danger is clear…
“The hike to the dog was very short — maybe a quarter of a mile. We split everyone up into teams: the lookout for the kayakers, the swift water team who would travel to the other side of the river and attempt to secure the dog, an observer or two above the operation, and the throw bag team set at intervals down stream,” Washington State Animal Response Team (WASART) wrote on its Facebook page.
The dog immediately started barking once he saw the rescue team.
“His tail wagged low and slowly. He barked at the swift water team, then noticed the other teams taking their places and ran and slipped down the bank to bark at them,” the nonprofit organization writes.
Ed and Marcia were brave enough to put their lives on the line to cross the river. Marcia was the first to cross over, but the scared dog initially ran away.
Soon after Ed met up with Marcia, the dog started to approach them but it was too difficult for him and he kept slipping.
They were eventually able to get a hold of the dog and prepared to cross the river again. They placed a muzzle on the dog for safety purposes.
“While it’s our policy to muzzle all dogs, we were pretty impressed that when he was scared for his life he didn’t growl or snap, but trusted us to help him,” the WASART spokesperson also told LittleThings.
“Marcia held on to the raft with one hand and kept the dog’s head above the water with the other. On the other side, the dog stood and shook himself off,” the organization says.
The pooch was quickly taken to the vet for an emergency checkup and is since recovering.
“We hear he’s doing well. He had a collar, but no tags or chip. He’s a bit underweight, but has had some food and is settling in at Whatcom Humane Society. We have no info on a possible owner, nor does the WHS,” WASART explains.
It’s incredible to know that kindhearted rescuers like these will put their life on the line for man’s best friend.
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