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Firefighters pluck dog from St. Mary's River

Friday, April 04, 2014   by: Michael Purvis

Howard Bishop watched helplessly Thursday afternoon as his best friend ‘Bud’ fought to keep his head above the icy waters of the St. Mary’s River.

The dog was struggling and a group of bald eagles had begun to circle overhead.

“They figured he was a goner,” said Bishop, 78.

But then, Bishop said he heard the sound of an airboat coming from upstream.

It was a crew of firefighters from the Sault Ste. Marie Fire Service, who pulled up to the spot where Bud had fallen through the ice and plucked the tired Golden retriever from the water.

“I thought ‘Just hang on Bud. Just hang on Bud,’” said Bishop.

Bud, who is 10 years old, was recovering well this afternoon thanks, said Bishop, to the efforts of not only the firefighters, but also thanks to the actions of a pair of construction workers at the scene and the veterinary staff at Sault Animal Hospital.

Bishop said the harrowing experience began Thursday afternoon when he and his wife, Karen, decided to take Bud for a walk along the river.

The couple, who live nearby, had wanted to check the progress of an apartment project at the former Plummer Memorial Hospital site, where Karen had stayed while she studied to be a nurse in the 1950s.

Howard said he had planned to let Bud off his leash for just a moment.

“Low and behold he spotted a duck,” said Howard.

The dog chased the bird for a couple hundred feet out onto the ice before he hit a weak spot and fell through.

The couple were “just devastated.”

“(Bud) is such a beautiful dog and such a good friend,” Howard said.

Karen called to a pair of men who were working at the former hospital site and one of them called the fire department on his cellphone.

Howard said it was hard not to venture out onto the ice after Bud, but he said he knew that would be a bad idea.

“The dog had already been in the water half and hour or more at this point, fighting to stay alive,” he said.

Howard said Bud was able to cling to the ice using his toenails - which he was to have had trimmed at a grooming appointment this morning.

“Had he not had those big nails, he wouldn’t have made it,” said Howard.

The Bishops have had Bud, whose name is short for Budweiser, for about eight years since he was passed on to them by their granddaughter when she moved out west.

Karen said her husband and Bud are very close and the fact that the dog survived Thursday’s ordeal is “almost a miracle.”

The firefighters took Bud to the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre after bringing him onboard their boat.

From there, the Bishops took him to the vet, where he was given a warming IV.

Two hours later, he was doing well, said Howard.

“I took him up (today) and all the girls were hugging him,” said Howard.

Howard said he brought a box of doughnuts to the fire hall today when he went to return the blankets the firefighters used to keep Bud warm.

“I said, ‘You didn’t just save a dog. You saved two old people too,” said Howard.

Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
thera 4/4/2014 8:35:25 PM Report

What a great story!!
kamen 4/4/2014 8:42:31 PM Report

I love seeing these stories, glad the dog is okay.
JustAGuy2 4/4/2014 8:51:44 PM Report

Hats off to the fire department.
nanci 4/4/2014 8:52:38 PM Report

I love happy endings and now Firefighters too.
shit4brains 4/4/2014 8:56:59 PM Report

What a wonderful story to hear as most topics here can be so negative.
SuperiorNorth 4/4/2014 9:02:38 PM Report

Great story!
Happy ending + firefighters get ice rescue practice. Their response time must have been amazing.
Deano_ 4/4/2014 9:03:44 PM Report

saultresident 4/4/2014 9:29:05 PM Report

Wonderful ending to this story.
caress 4/4/2014 9:43:18 PM Report

Beautiful out come, but now it's a lesson learnt keep your dog on a leash, special by fast running water.

bustinout 4/4/2014 10:23:47 PM Report

What a wonderful ending to what could have been a heart breaking story. God was definitely looking out for Bud and his 2 big hearted owners. That must have been so hard to watch from shore. I'm so glad all the right people were there to save your precious Bud! What a feel good story, I'm so happy for your happy ending, God Bless and hold him tight!
deer 4/4/2014 11:31:28 PM Report

hats off to all the firefighters when a friend is in need 2 legs or 4 we r one call away the best story this year Louis from the searchmont fire department
Rockin 4/5/2014 12:46:31 AM Report

Wow right on! I couldn't stop picturing my poor little girl Boogie whom is sitting right beside me as I type being the one out there!
I just couldn't imagine that happening to her so I feel for you guys and Bud!
My girl has nails that I often forgive and they get long so this story has huge smiles from me to see that helped Bud with his life!
Cheers to the gents with the cell phone...cheers to the Fire heroes...
Pakadeva 4/5/2014 2:09:57 AM Report

Awwwww, what a great story!
So glad this lovely people were able to save their little friend, with the help of, at the time, unknown friends. Awesome rescue workers, & people who called for them! Kudos!!
sammmys 4/5/2014 6:53:58 AM Report

Kudos to all who helped rescue Buddy! Glad to know there are people out there who understand the bond between dogs and their owners.
P.S.--we miss playing with you on our walks!
kbaybiie 4/5/2014 8:27:51 AM Report

My fiancee is part of the group of construction workers (his boss & co-worker were the ones helping) and it was such a traumatic experience from what he told me! Everyone one that works for the construction team is glad to hear Bud is okay!! Such a happy ending!!!! Hats off to everyone that helped save this beautiful animal as well as his owners !!
ti-guy 4/5/2014 9:11:16 AM Report

What also makes a great story, is that all comments were the positive kind! Nice people make a nice day for everyone.
Jitterbug 4/5/2014 9:42:14 AM Report

Agree a happy ending so nice to hear a story like this. Excellent caring firefighters that have a heart of gold and to the owners that have conditionall luv for Bud. Also others who helped Bud great people.
Mandysmom 4/5/2014 10:29:31 AM Report

A great story. Good to read when the news has such sad stories.
rockbanger 4/5/2014 10:37:33 AM Report


Excellent stuff.

Remember what dog spelled backwards is....

Yeah for Dogs... Firefighters too.

karebear 4/5/2014 11:55:27 AM Report

Awesome outcome. It is great to hear of stories like this. Thanks to all who saved Bud and his family.
irishfey 4/5/2014 12:33:35 PM Report

Nice to see all the responses on here. I can"t say much else, was already said. To the Firefighters.. Heros.. all of you!! God bless you all!!!,,, Yes, the Angels were out that day!... Now i just have to wipe the tears away,, happy tears.....
uncle gary 4/5/2014 1:13:42 PM Report

So glad to hear the Buddy missed his toe nail appointment... The stars were definately lined up for him. Please folks if you live near water tie dogs up or better keep them in their kennel during this dangerous time. We don't go out to our cottage during early freeze and and break-up of ice because of the danger it could be for our 2 dogs. HATS OFF TO ALL OF YOU WONDERFUL FOLKS WHO PLAYED A PART IN SAVING BUDDY !!!!!!!
S.M.A.R.T. 4/5/2014 3:02:08 PM Report

Great to hear that Bud the doggy came out of this none the worse for wear. Nice to see the construction workers and firefighters did well by this pet and his owners. Any pet owner can empathize with this couple's distress at the sight of their precious friend in imminent peril. As for the circling bald eagles, there are plenty of fish in the sea so stick to a more conventional diet.
shju 4/5/2014 5:25:52 PM Report

Nice to see this story that people will help animals in need. The dog was off the leash... its called a leash law for a reason. Someone let dogs off for a month and they allegedly killed deer for some food and we are all yelling to kill the dogs. You people can't make up your minds. Either dogs will be dogs or they aren't. Can't be both ways.
NGDS 4/5/2014 5:43:54 PM Report

A great story to read...thank you to the ones that helped never know how much an animal means to you till their gone. Job well done.
AHappyMan 4/6/2014 11:23:53 AM Report

Congratulations ... this was an awesome story in my opinion.
Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
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