On November 23nd shortly after five O’Clock in the evening, the Nelson Police Department received a phone call from a concerned citizen.  She was confused as she was calling about a dog in distress.  As she was calling about a dog she did not know if she required police, fire or ambulance.

The calm voice of the police dispatcher convinced her to tell her story and he could dispatch the appropriate service.  The concerned caller reported that she had been walking along the shoreline at the Lakeside soccer fields when she became aware of a dog on a sailboat anchored offshore.

The dog had fallen off of the boat and into the water. It appeared to be in considerable trouble even though it seemed to be tethered to the vessel.  At first the dog barked and frantically splashed in the water, but the noise had stopped.  The caller sadly reported the dog had, “gone silent”.  She feared the dog had perished.

The Nelson Fire Rescue Service and Nelson Police Department members were dispatched to respond.  The police dispatched Constable Zukowski  to attend the shoreline to gather more information while a joint rescue mission was launched.  Acting Captain Jeffery and Sergeant Weber boarded the joint rescue boat and motored into the inky blackness.

Fortunately, the fire department and police department had conducted some joint training on the rescue boat earlier in the day.  From the shore, Constable Zukowski  was able to locate the boat in question.  He conducted a field interview with the caller and illuminated the moored sailboat utilizing the spot light on the police vehicle.  He reported that the dog was in fact alive and tethered to the boat.  The dog was, however, partially submerged in the icy cold water and was still in mortal danger.

The joint rescue operation was on scene within two minutes of being launched. Sgt Weber and Acting Captain Jeffery located the boat and dog.  While Jeffery expertly maneuvered the boat, Weber took hold of the cold, wet dog.

Together, the crew unhooked the dog from the sailboat and coaxed it aboard the rescue boat.  Once aboard the dog shook itself dry, drenching the rescue crew.  Police boarded the sailboat and found it to be unoccupied.  It appeared as if the dog owner had tethered the dog to the boat with a rope and harness.  Somehow, the dog escaped from the cabin and fell or jumped overboard.  Had the caring citizen not noticed the dog in distress or failed to report he situation to the police the dog may have not survived.

The Nelson Police Department believes they know the identity of dog owner.   The mature golden dog is in a safe place recovering from the ordeal as the Nelson Police await contact from the owner.  The circumstance will be fully investigated by the Nelson Police Department with the assistance of the BC SPCA.


Your police and fire professionals would like to thank the quick thinking citizen whose actions saved the life of the fortunate dog.



Sergeant Brian Weber

Nelson Police Department








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