CHICAGO (CBS) — A Chicago police officer came to the rescue of a stray dog that fell in Lake Michigan near Ohio Street Beach on Tuesday.
Officer Juan Farris and his field training officer, Daniel Guzman, were responding to a crash on Lake Shore Drive near Erie Street around 7 a.m., and when they arrived on scene, another officer was trying to corral a stray dog that was running loose on the Lakefront Trail that runs alongside the drive.
Farris said the dog was thirsty, and kept leaning over the edge of the trail to drink from the lake, and then fell in the water.
“It was about a one-foot drop to get to the water, so the dog was leaning forward quite a bit. So I was just keeping my eye on it as it was running back and forth, and then finally I heard this splash … looked over, the dog was in the water, so I ran over, and then got in the prone position, and then pulled the dog right out,” Farris said.
Farris, a former U.S. Marine, said he grabbed the large pit bull mix behind its front legs to pull it out, since the dog wasn’t wearing a collar.
Officers initially believed the dog had been in one of four cars that had crashed on Lake Shore Drive, but Farris said the officer in charge at the crash scene later told them it was just a stray that happened to be on the trail at the time of the crash.
Farris, 34, has been on the job about two months after graduating from the police academy, and he said rescuing the dog has been the highlight of his time on the force so far.
“It was great. I never thought I’d be coming to work today and saving a dog’s life,” he said.
Guzman said the rookie officer came through with “flying colors.”
“I thought he was going to fall in, but he’s pretty strong, so he was able to pull [the dog] out himself, and do just fine. He did great,” Guzman said.
The officers said the dog was very friendly, and let them pet it, but kept running off when tried to grab it so they could get it in a squad car. Police finally managed to get a leash on the dog to get it into a squad car.
Farris said the dog has been turned over to Chicago Animal Care and Control. He said he grew up on a farm with several family dogs, and has always wanted one of his own, so he might adopt the dog if CACC can’t find its owner or another adopter. The dog did not have a collar or ID chip.
As for the crash nearby, police said two people suffered minor injuries.