TOWN OF TONAWANDA, N.Y. — A Jack Russell terrier is home safe after falling into Ellicott Creek in the Town of Tonawanda.
"When I watched him go down for the first time underwater, it made me a little nervous," said Jim Skoney, who successfully pulled a dog named Rufus from the water on Friday.
"I took off my glasses and my watch, and I flopped down on the embankment. He turned his head, and he started paddling back, and you could clearly see he did not have enough strength to get up the bank. So then he went under another time, and I reached over and reached out as far as I could and grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and pulled him up."
Skoney added: "His head was just laying there, and he was shaking unbelievably bad, and I was just rubbing him really hard and giving him a good massage, trying to keep him going and telling him to hang in there."
Skoney brought the dog to the SPCA Serving Erie County for medical treatment and to track down his owner.
And while he does have a few battle scars, with cuts, scrapes, and mud from the embankment, Skoney says it was worth it to see Rufus reunited with his family.
"He can't hear very well or see very well, so I don't know how he got across, but he's got the angels with him today," said Joe, Rufus' owner.
The SPCA posted their thanks for Skoney's actions on social media.
"Now, Rufus is back home, safe in his bed because of Jim’s heroic effort and our veterinary team’s diligent work (along with our donors, who ensure these life-saving efforts keep happening for the animals who need us most). This display of compassion would in no way be possible if not for Jim’s bravery," the SPCA said on Facebook.