When people see animals in danger, it’s a natural instinct to jump into action to help save them — but unfortunately, sometimes well-meaning humans get themselves in danger in the process.
That was the case recently, after a dog was swept up in a rapid river, and two humans to tried to save him ended up needing saving themselves. But thankfully, everything worked out in the end.
On March 28, a German Shepherd named Scooby was swept up in the fast-moving current of the Los Angeles River, which had swelled after a rainstorm.
The dog’s owner, Angela Buono, didn’t hesitate to go after him but got swept up in the current.
Firefighters arrived on the scene to help, but told Angela that she had to let go of the dog in order to be rescued herself. “He informed me that I had to release him,” she told Inside Edition. “He assured me — I kept asking if he was going to go back for the dog. I saw him get swept away, and it was probably one of the scariest things ever.”
Scooby continued down the river. However, another man, a bystander who didn’t know the dog, tried to save the day.
Dustin Leming, an iron worker, jumped 14 feet into the current to try to save the dog. He recalls seeing the “scared” dog and was moved to act.
“I said ‘Look mom, that dog’s in the river. I’m going to the river. I’m gonna save that dog,’” he told CBS 7. “And she goes, ‘You better not Dustin’ and I told her, ‘Look, I’m going in.”
Dustin was able to grab onto the dog, but the scared animal reportedly bit him, and the current was too much for him to handle.
Unfortunately, Dustin’s heroic efforts didn’t save Scooby: the dog got loose and continued down the river. The firefighters pulled Dustin out of the water.
After the failed rescue, the Los Angeles Fire Department put out a statement strongly discouraging anyone else from trying to save the dog themselves.
“By going in the water you are created another human rescue which puts all at risk…including yourself,” they wrote. “Please. Stay. Out.”
While it’s admirable that people would instinctively jump into action to save this dog, this was a dangerous situation, and it was best left up to trained professionals to save the day.
And in the end, that’s exactly what happened: after a two-hour rescue the dog ended up in a shallow part of the river, where firefighters were able to retrieve him.
While his efforts were in vain, and were discouraged by the fire department, Dustin says he has no regrets about trying to do the right thing.
“Everybody got their phones out and wanted to take videos but not take action,” he told CBS. “I tried to help him out… I was like ‘Oh man, if that dog dies, I’m gonna be so sad.”
And dog owner Angela thanked everyone who helped, for the “love out there and support.”
The true heroes of this story are the firefighters, who not only saved the life of the dog but the two people who went after him.
It’s a reminder that while it’s always nice to help animals, it’s important to not put your life at risk or make things even more complicated for the rescue team. Sometimes it’s best to leave things to the professionals.
But in the end, the good news is the dog is safe and sound now. Share this story!