Cops Leap Into A Canal To Save This Dog But They Don’t Realize She’s One Of Their Own

In a Florida canal, you’re liable to find anything and everything capable of fueling nightmares: huge bugs, freshwater American crocodiles, and maybe even swamp people. While most residents may be accustomed to the Sunshine State’s aquatic horrors, what these Broward County Sheriff’s officers found left them with a serious story to tell.

It was any other ordinary Monday morning when they received a distress call about a dog stuck in one of the many canals peppering their district. When the officers reached the scene, however, they had no idea of the backstory that connected them to the poor pooch…

It was early in the morning of January 8, 2018 when Shasta, a seven-year-old German Shepherd, slipped through a hole in the bottom of a backyard garden fence. Within just a few minutes, she’d realize that she’d made a huge mistake…

Sun Sentinel

Shasta didn’t have to wander far to find trouble in her North Lauderdale, Florida, neighborhood. Just one block over, she sniffed around at the the top of an embankment flanking a modest canal. Little did she know that the ground wasn’t stable.

News 7 Miami

Without warning, Shasta lost her footing. She struggled to regain purchase on the rocky shore, but failed, kicking up a cloud of dust and rubble as she skidded six feet down the slope and into the canal below.

Desperately, Shasta paddled for the shore. While the 95-pound dog had extensive guard dog training, it didn’t help her—not at that moment. She couldn’t get a paw on the steep embankment and wet rocks without it slipping. She needed help!

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Luckily a passerby saw the struggling pooch. They didn’t know how long the dog had been stuck, but they could tell by her obvious exhaustion that she wouldn’t be able to stay afloat much longer. The witness alerted Broward County authorities…

CBS Miami / YouTube

Sergeant Tom Watkins, Deputies Nezar Hamze and Josh Stambaugh, and two other officers responded to the call. “I have two German shepherds myself and love dogs,” Officer Stambaugh told Miami 7 News. For him, this rescue would be personal.

News 7 Miami

“We heard an animal in distress—person in distress, animal in distress,” Officer Stambaugh continued, “and we all responded.” Sergeant Watkins echoed his deputy’s urgency: “We hopped into our vehicles right away,” he said.

News 7 Miami

At the time, the officers didn’t know a thing about the dog’s owners or her background. All they knew was what they saw as soon as they arrived on the scene: Shasta’s situation was dire, and they had to act immediately.

CBS Miami / YouTube

“We saw the dog in the water, not moving that much at all,” Officer Stambaugh told CBS Miami. “There were rocks down at the bottom of the bank, which were slippery.” He stepped right into the canal and tried to pull Shasta out…

CBS Miami

But Shasta retreated further into the canal, taking her chances with exhaustion instead of her rescuer. It broke Sergeant Watkins’s heart. “You could see the sadness in her eyes and how scared she was,” he said. This wasn’t going to be simple.

News 7 Miami

Meanwhile, just a few blocks away, Shasta’s family discovered their beloved dog had escaped. “I [was] starting to panic and, like, calling for her,” Jasmine Davis, daughter of owners Doug and Dahlia, said.

News 7 Miami

Dahlia Davis reached her panic point, too. She texted her husband about filing a missing animal report with animal control. Of course, the family didn’t know their dog’s life was in the hands of five officers at that very moment…

News 7 Miami

Meanwhile, the officers, knowing the German Shepherd was too scared to be pulled from the canal by hand, grabbed an animal control pole. When the pooch once more approached the shore, the officers put the lasso to work.

News 7 Miami

“We were able to coax the dog back in,” Officer Stambaugh said. “It came back in, and I was able to lasso it.” Carefully, the officer guided the pooch back to the rocky shore. She was weak, tired, and taking heaving breaths.

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Once the dog was safe on the shore, animal control set about tracking down her owners. Then they connected with Doug and his family. The officers were shocked when they heard the name—and for a good reason.

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Doug Davis—father to Jasmine, husband to Dahlia, and the owner of Shasta—was a Broward County Sheriff’s deputy! Officers Watkins, Stambaugh, and the three others had rescued their own colleague’s pooch!

News 7 Miami

Reunited with their pup, the Davises couldn’t have been happier. “Thank you guys so much for finding my dog,” Jasmine said while smiling ear to ear. “I didn’t think I’d be able to tell you guys thank you.”

CBS Miami / YouTube

Dahlia thanked the officers as well: “We’re so grateful,” she said. “I don’t know what our home would be like… if we still didn’t know where she was.” The officers, meanwhile, were just happy to help the dog out.

CBS Miami / YouTube

“Knowing this was my dog or someone else’s dog, we got there as fast as we could,” Sergeant Watkins told CBS Miami. “We wanted to save the dog’s life.” And thanks to their tenacity, the officers did just that!

CBS Miami / YouTube

The officers’ body cameras captured the intense rescue from a unique point of view: their own! These dog lovers did everything they could to make sure one family didn’t have to live without their beautiful pooch.

Good thing those officers were able to safely pull Shasta out of the canal. As dog owners themselves, they knew just how much someone out there loved her. The coincidence was simply an added bonus!

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