Alert “06880” reader Cary Peterson writes:
It was late afternoon last Friday. As I do almost every day, I walked our little dog to Grace Salmon Park.
The tide was as low as it can get. It looked like you could walk to Riverside Avenue. I let Chloe off her leash on the path around the river. She doesn’t like the water, and usually stays right with me.
She nosed around the center where it is fenced off, and flushed out a duck. It flew toward the river, with our dog right on her tail.
She plunged into the mud and followed the duck out to open water, a long way from shore. I screamed at her to come, but she seemed stuck.
At that moment a police car pulled in the park. I ran over. Officer John Lauria tried to calm me down, as he assessed the situation.
Neither of us could see any sign of Chloe. I was sure she was drowned in mud.
Officer Lauria called animal control. We walked around looking for any sign of her.
I was hysterical, as the officer explained he couldn’t walk out in the quicksand. I certainly didn’t want him risking his life either. He commiserated with me on how difficult it is to lose a dog.
After 10 futile minutes he spotted Chloe, way at the edge of the muck. He jumped in and walked across the Saugatuck River to rescue her.
The relief I felt when he safely trudged ashore carrying her is indescribable.
By that time animal control officer Joseph Saponare had arrived. He was barefoot, and ready to help. He was also well supplied with towels, which made only a small dent in wiping off the black muck.
I am struck by how easy it is to misjudge even a very obedient dog. We have been taking her to this park without incident since she finished her obedience training 6 years ago. Dogs have very strong instincts. We have to keep Chloe always on a leash.
As for officer John Lauria: He took a big risk for a little dog. To me he will always walk on water!