WEST VALLEY CITY — Two West Valley City police officers were patrolling along the Jordan River Parkway trail Wednesday night when they saw a dog trapped on a ledge over the river.
West Valley police detective Thomas Sanford and Sgt. Josh Browne found the little white chihuahua, stranded over swift-moving water and was unable to get back to safety, according to a Facebook post.
"If (he) falls in that water (he's) not going to make it, it was moving too fast," said West Valley City police spokeswoman Roxeanne Vainuku.
When Sanford first spotted the shaking dog, he said he knew they had to act fast. Because the animal was over the swift water, Sanford knew if the dog fell he would get sucked right under the water.
The officers called Salt Lake County Animal Services for help because the dog was leaning on a fence and they couldn't get to him safely. Sgt. Kassandra Hoppe and officer Marissa Diamond worked together to distract the dog and used a "snappy snare" to pull him over the fence to safety, according to Callista Pearson with Salt Lake County Animal Services.
Even though he was no longer in danger, Pearson said he was scared and in "poor condition," however, he was wearing a leash so he could have been someone's lost pet.
When animal control took the dog into custody, they listed him as a stray or abandoned animal on its website. Per animal control's policy, his owners had five days to claim him before he would become available for adoption.
After the police department posted the uplifting story on Facebook someone saw the picture and recognized him as a friend's lost dog, Drew, who went missing earlier that day when he jumped out of their truck while driving down Redwood Road.
"We put out information on Facebook and stuff to help look for him and my friend found the post and sent it to me and said 'this looks like Drew,'" said Marleena Cook. "He still had his leash on, and we were like 'that's him!'"
Cook said Drew belongs to her kids.
It didn't take long for them to pick him up from the shelter and bring him back home.
Cook said other than being shaken up and some minor injuries from his adventure, Drew was OK and happy to be reunited with his family.
Police don’t often get to see such happy endings to incidents they work on, Sanford said.
“It was pretty awesome,” Sanford said of the experience.
Sanford said the rescue was the highlight of his week.
Contributing: Lauren Bennett, KSL.com