An 81-year-old Florida man who struggled to stay afloat after his wheelchair rolled into a lake has his beloved dog to thank for heroically summoning help during the ordeal, according to a report.
Harry Smith took the pooch, Sarah Jane, for a walk near the lake near their home on Southwest Twig Avenue in Port St. Lucie last week when his electric wheelchair lost traction, police said in a statement.
It slid down an embankment and Smith was ejected into the water, where he fought to keep afloat.
Sensing that her owner was in danger, Sarah Jane began barking loudly, alerting a couple of bystanders across the street who flagged a police officer who happened to be driving by.
“Officer Doty exited his patrol vehicle and observed Mr. Smith was submerged up to his neck in the water,” police said.
The two bystanders and the officer quickly joined forces to pull Smith out of the water and onto the bank, where he received medical attention and allowed to return home, police said.
“Due to his electric wheelchair being damaged from falling in the water, Officer Doty and St. Lucie County Fire District assisted by pushing him back to his house,” according to the statement.
“We are thankful for Mr. Smith’s dog and the 2 bystanders that helped save his life! And as the saying remains true…A man’s best friend is his dog,” police added.
Edward Suhling, one of the good Samaritans, told WPTV: “When we looked over here the dog was splashing in the water so we both ran over here and I jumped in the water.
“Only his head was above the water. The wheelchair was in the water,” he added.
Smith said he gave the hero dog a treat after the rescue.
“She’s such a good dog. Everybody in this neighborhood loves her, they all look out for her,” he told the station. “I love her, always have, always will.”
Two days after the incident, the officer capped off an exciting week by welcoming his newborn son into the world, WPTV said.