TEMPE, AZ — An older dog stranded in the Tempe Canal was rescued through a collective effort of passing cyclists, Tempe police, and a Valley rugby coach by the name of ‘Salty’ Thompson.
Long before ‘Salty’ was showing Arizona youth the intricacies of rugby, he spent some of his younger years catching fish off the coast of Northern Ireland.
That’s how he got the nickname, “Salty Dog.”
“Yeah, but I’m not a very good swimmer,” he said in an Irish accent.
Despite what he says about his abilities in the water, he was the good Samaritan to be the first person to plunge into the Tempe Canal to help fish out a stranded dog.
Tempe police body camera video shows ‘Salty’ was the one to actually lead the impromptu rescue operation on Tuesday, just after 9 a.m.
“He was in the water already by the time we showed up,” said Officer Matthew Warbington.
The video shows Officers Warbington and Karl Kresin holding onto ‘Salty’ as he’s trying to corral the dog with a horse harness. After some brief reluctance from the husky in the water, Salty was able to push the dog out of the canal.
Other cyclists and neighbors watching the rescue nearby applauded once the dog was out.
The two Tempe police officers can be heard asking for a picture with ‘Salty’ after he gets out of the water.
“I coach teams, it was a team effort. There was no way of getting that dog out on my own,” he said.
That team effort continued at Lost our Home Pet Rescue on Hardy Drive in Tempe.
The dog was brought into the non-profit shelter by Tempe police after the rescue.
That night, Lost our Home Pet Rescue says the owners were found and they were reunited with their senior pup! The owners say she doesn't get out of the house very often anymore, but had quite the adventure that day.
A closer look at the older husky, she has noticeable “salt” around her whiskers.
“She looks pretty well cared for, so I have a feeling she just got out and she does have a family that’s looking for her frantically,” said Karen Anderson of Lost Our Home Pet Rescue, before the owners came forward.