Gateway: News

Officer saves dog trapped in water under dock at West Shore Marina

Gig Harbor’s human citizens aren’t the only members of the community served by the Gig Harbor Police Department.

On Dec. 22, Officer Mike Allen rescued a dog trapped in the water underneath the dock at West Shore Marina on Harborview Drive.

Clark Swanson, a resident at the marina and the dog’s owner, said that a neighbor first alerted him to his pet’s plight just before 7 a.m. that morning.

The neighbor had heard a dog whining from under the dock and discovered Swanson’s 11-year-old cocker spaniel, Tucker, trapped in the 48-degree water.

The two men contacted Allen and Officer Joe Hicks about the situation before Swanson returned to his boat to put on his wetsuit, intending to save his pet.

Meanwhile, according to a release issued by the Gig Harbor Police Department, Allen heard the dog’s whimpers growing weaker and, afraid for the dog’s life, decided to take action.

“It was clear that the dog would not have survived much longer,” Allen said in a release. “He was getting really cold and tired.”

Allen removed his equipment, put on a floatation coat and attached a safety line before entering the water and rescuing Tucker.

Allen brought Tucker back to Swanson’s boat, where the dog’s owner gave him a hot shower and a blow dry, then wrapped him in a blanket and placed him in the engine room near the furnace to warm up.

Tucker quickly made a full recovery and Swanson is heartfelt in his praise for Allen.

“That to me was unbelievable,” Swanson said. “That somebody would do this for my little ragged cocker spaniel ... I think it’s really admirable.”

Swanson lives alone on his boat with his dogs — Tucker, plus another cocker spaniel and a West Highland White Terrier — and considers his dogs to be family.

“These dogs are a lot of company,” he said.

Swanson believes Tucker fell into the water after jumping onto a dingy he keeps moored behind his boat, a typical action for the dogs to get a closer look at the water birds.

He thinks Tucker landed in the water while trying to get back to the larger boat and then swam about 100 yards before getting stuck by the fire lines under the dock.

Tucker has been with Swanson for nine years, ever since he was rescued from a breeder after his early career as a show dog.

Show dogs are familiar to Allen, who — along with his wife — breeds and shows cocker spaniels during his free time.

Police Chief Kelly Busey spoke highly of Allen’s response to the situation.

“We are proud of the actions of Officer Allen in this unusual situation,” Busey said in a release. “Our officers continue to do the right thing at the right moment. Although this isn’t in the normal course of his duties, Officer Allen made a judgment call that saved the life of someone’s pet.”

Swanson continues to speak enthusiastically about Allen’s rescue of Tucker and intends to write a letter to Busey to formally express his gratitude.

“My dog wouldn’t have been able to get out (of the water) unless someone went into the water and got him and that’s what Officer Allen did,” Swanson said. “He went above and beyond what any police officer would do by going into the water and grabbing my dog and pulling him out ... he saved his life. He literally saved his life.”

Andrea Haffly: 253-358-4155, @gateway_andrea