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Strangers rescue dog from rushing North Vancouver creek

Jasper's grateful owner wants to thank the anonymous helpers who rescued his dog from a fast-flowing creek and then promptly disappeared.
Tony Schidlo and his dog Jasper are happy to be back on dry land after a dramatic rescue on Mosquito Creek Friday. Photo Rae Schidlo, North Shore News

A North Vancouver man wants to thank some anonymous helpers who rescued his dog from a fast flowing creek and then promptly disappeared.

The incident happened on Friday afternoon after days of rain had left Mosquito Creek rushing.

Tony Schidlo was walking his nine-year-old husky/shepherd-cross Jasper near Sunnycrest Drive. He took his eyes off Jasper just long enough to stoop and scoop and when he looked up, she was gone.

“Then suddenly I saw it – just the top two-thirds of her head out of the water. She was stuck under a big log,” Schidlo said.

He raced over to where she was, thinking it would be relatively easy to pull the 90-pound pup out, but Schidlo found the best he could do was keep her head above water so she wouldn’t drown.

Shortly after, a woman walking her dog came by and called 911. Another man came by and tried to help pull Jasper out to no avail. Then a trail runner came by and joined the effort.

“He jumped in the water. Pretty brave, I thought,” Schidlo said. “He was a younger man and obviously very strong.”

The amateur rescuer quickly determined there was no way to pull Jasper straight out. She would have to be pulled back, up against the current first. So he crawled into the stream and put his arms around the dog so he could turn her around and get her paws up onto the log. From there, Schidlo was able to get her back onto shore.

Schidlo estimates the whole process took 10 to 15 minutes. District of North Vancouver firefighters arrived shortly after and checked everyone over for injuries or hypothermia.

“We were all OK, more or less,” Schidlo said. “[Jasper’s] paws were bleeding a little. Other than that, she was no worse for wear. But she was petrified. … You could see it in her eyes. She was absolutely terrified.”

At the time, B.C.’s River Forecast Centre had issued a high streamflow advisory, but creeks can be dangerous for animals even when they appear calm, said District of North Vancouver assistant fire chief Jeremy Duncan.

“Be as careful with your pets as you would be yourself or your children or anything like that,” he said. “Because things can happen in the water. The currents are strong, even if you have a dog that’s a really good swimmer”

In May, a local family’s golden retriever Maya was swept over a set of waterfalls in Lynn Canyon. It took almost a month for her remains to be found.

And, Duncan added, it’s always best to leave rescues to the professionals.

“We have the proper personal protective equipment and skill set,” he said. “If you go by yourself, we don’t want to have to rescue both of you.”

West Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services issued a similar warning last week after rescuing a wayward dog from a cliff in Cypress Falls Park.

Now, Schidlo just wants to find the folks who helped save Jasper last Friday and properly let them know how grateful he is.

“I’m just so thankful for their concern and their willingness to help,” he said.

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