On Tuesday morning, a group of locals stopped what they were doing and came to the aid of a poor, paddling pup who had gotten into a canal in Tempe, Arizona.
The dog appeared to be old, and no one knew how long she’d been in the water or how long she’d last. A local rugby coach, “Salty Dog” Thompson, took the lead despite not being a strong swimmer.
“He was in the water already by the time we showed up,” officer Matthew Warbington with the Tempe Police Department said, according to KNXV-TV.
Thompson used a horse harness to try to capture the dog and drag it out of the water while police officers held onto him.
Eventually, he was able to push the elderly husky mix out of the water and onto dry land. The pup was welcomed with cheers and clapping from the onlookers, and the officers celebrated the victory with a photo.
“Shout out to Tempe resident @saltythompson and our @tempepolice patrol officers for saving this pup from downing in the canal today!” the Tempe Police Department Facebook page shared. “Thank you to all the other bystanders who jumped into action to rescue her. The dog is safe with @lostourhome and in need of a loving home! Great work everyone!”
Brushing off the suggestion of heroics, Thompson focused on the overall rescue.
“I coach teams; it was a team effort. There was no way of getting that dog out on my own,” Thompson said, according to KNXV.
The dog was taken to Lost Our Home, a local rescue. Her owner was given a week to come forward, and after that time she would be offered up for adoption.
According to comments on Facebook and Instagram, the dog’s owners did come forward and were relieved and grateful for the rescue.
“Thank you very much,” Rob Roberson commented on an Instagram post from Thompson. “You saved our dog!!!! She somehow (and I mean we can’t fathom how) snuck out this morning. Given her age she is not exactly a speed walker. We didn’t notice she was gone until this afternoon. Please reach out to us because we would very much like to thank you for saving our girl.”
“You are our hero!!!!” Beth Clauser added. “Thanks so much for saving our baby.”
“So wonderfully and beautifully amazing that ‘Salty’, police officers, and others, saved and cared for the sweet old Freida,” Mandy Forster commented on the Tempe Police Department Facebook post. “This is my mom and her husband’s dog and it was such a sad freak accident that thankfully had a happy ending, thanks to some amazing people.
“She always has a tagged collar on, except for the past couple days, and she has never once tried to escape in her long life. My family is incredibly grateful and overjoyed that it turned out the way it did. She is epileptic, amongst other issues, and when she escaped she returned to her younger days of walking spots, where she always tried to enter the water, but was always pulled back (understandably).
“THANK YOU to all involved with this!”