Fast water and dark skies made for a dangerous mission to save Bear.
firefighters save dog from raging river
Credit: Courtesy of The Glasgow Volunteer Fire Department

When you're stranded in the middle of a river and can't get yourself out, there's one group of people you can always count on: firefighters.

That's exactly the scenario that played out June 1 for poor Bear, an 11-year-old boi from Glasgow, Va., who was out playing in the park with his human, Barbara Debevoise. That's when Bear decided to take a dip in the nearby Maury River.

"We saw him swimming way out in the river. And we lost him, and we went across the river and he was still swimming, and that's when I called 911," Barbara told WSLS.

That 911 call went to the Glasgow Volunteer Fire Department, where Chief John Hill responded with his special operations team, which is trained for swift-water operations like this one. With the sun going down and the water becoming increasingly dark and treacherous, the team got to work bringing the stranded pupper home.

"With the recent rains, water levels were still flowing a bit high so the spot Bear had found himself in was a bit difficult," the department's Facebook post reads. "The swimmers were able to successfully swim to Bear and secure him in a canine [personal flotation device] and get him moved to a better location. Our Oceanid paddle craft was used to bring Bear safely ashore."

In all, the rescue took teams about an hour to complete and Bear was brought safely back to dry land, wet but no worse for the wear.

"I'm sure some of you wonder why such a high risk for a canine, but here every life matters and to a lot of us, pets are like our children," the department's post reads. "Over the past few years we've been called to help other animals that have found themselves in tight and treacherous situations involving water and other unforgiving environments."

Water safety for dogs is an important consideration for anyone who has their furry bois near any body of water. But, when things do go wrong, it's good to know that help is never more than a fire station away.