It’s a police officer’s duty to help out anyone in need. But a seemingly random rescue mission took on a special meaning when the officers realized they actually had a connection to the rescuee.
It all started Monday in North Lauderdale, Florida, when Broward Police officers responded to a report about someone trapped in a local canal:
It was a 7-year-old German Shepherd.
“Knowing this was my dog or someone else’s dog we got there as fast as we could to try and save the dog’s life,” Sgt. Thomas Watkins told WFOR.
They found the dog fighting for its life. It had somehow gotten itself into the water, and due to the canal’s deep water and slippery rocks, the dog was unable to pull itself out. The effort to stay afloat was tiring the animal out.
“We saw the dog in the water, not moving that much at all,” recalled Deputy Josh Stambaugh, one of the officers on the scene.
The officers tried to guide the dog out, and Stambaugh stepped into the canal. Unfortunately the scared animal resisted their help and went even further into the canal.
“When we went into the water, the dog started swimming out,” Stambaugh explained.
But they had another plan: using an animal control pole to get a hold of the dog and guide it back to land.
“He came back in and I was able to lasso it,” the officer added.
“Hey sweetheart. You’re ok, buddy,” one of the deputies is heard saying on footage captured by bodycam.
Luckily, the rescue was a success: the German Shepherd was eventually out of the water.
The ordeal left the dog exhausted, and he immediately laid down. She was taken to the police station, where she made a happy and healthy recovery.
But the officers were stunned when they realized who the dog belonged to.
They learned the dog’s name is Shasta, and she escaped from her home before ending up in the canal.
She belonged to the family of Doug Davis—Broward Sheriff’s deputy who works at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. The officers had unwittingly saved the pet of one of their own colleagues.
That officer’s family was stunned—they didn’t know if they’d ever see their beloved dog again. When they picked Shasta up from the police station, they expressed their gratitude.
“So grateful,” Deputy Davis’s wife Dahlia told the officers.
“I don’t know what our home would be like at this hour if we didn’t know where she was right now.”
Many of the officers have dogs at home—Dept. Stambaugh actually owns two German shepherds himself—and knowing just how hard it is to lose a pet, they would’ve done anything to save that dog.
That it happened to belong to one of their own co-workers is just a coincidence.