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Hero dog helps pull girl from icy river

By Brad Lendon, CNN
updated 12:52 PM EDT, Tue April 2, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Girls, 9 and 10, fell into Edmonton river while tobogganing
  • Adam Shaw came to aid with his dog
  • Rocky the dog jumps into river for girl
  • Girl holds onto dog's leash as he swims to shore

(CNN) -- Rocky's been a fictional hero for decades, but in Edmonton, Alberta, today there's a hero named Rocky who is definitely real -- only he's 8 years old and has four legs.

This Rocky, a Labrador retriever-husky mix, is being hailed for pulling a 9-year-old girl from an icy river on Easter Sunday. His owner, Adam Shaw, 27, is getting similar praise.

"If that man and dog weren't there -- I just try not to think of it," Miranda Wagner, the mother of Samara, 9, and her 10-year-old sister, Krymzen, said in an interview with CNN affiliate CTV.

"I just want to give him a big hug and tell him he's my hero. If he wasn't there I wouldn't have my girls," Wagner said. "Doctors said two more minutes and Samara would have been gone."

Rocky and Shaw's heroics played out on the icy North Saskatchewan River in Edmonton on Sunday afternoon. The girls were tobogganing in a riverside park when they ended up on ice extending from the riverbank, their father, Corey Sunshine, told CNN affiliate CBC.

"From what I was told was, one of the toboggans came off the snowbank and onto the ice and they were trying to come back and the ice broke," he said.

Adam Shaw and his dog helped rescue two young girls who fell through the ice on a river in Edmonton, Alberta.
Adam Shaw and his dog helped rescue two young girls who fell through the ice on a river in Edmonton, Alberta.
Samara Sunshine
Samara Sunshine
Krymzen Sunshine
Krymzen Sunshine

Shaw said he was walking on a bridge over the river when he heard screams. Looking down on the river he saw one girl in the icy water and her sister trying to pull her out.

By the time he and Rocky sprinted down to the river, both girls were in the water.

He was able to pull Krymzen up onto the ice, but the current was carrying Samara downstream, about 4 or 5 feet from the edge of the ice, her head going in and out of the water, Shaw told a press conference Monday.

He asked the girl if she could swim to him.

"She said she couldn't move her arms, couldn't move her legs," Shaw said.

He tried throwing Rocky's leash to her but it didn't reach. Then, as he tried to get closer, the ice gave way beneath him and his dog.

"He managed to get his front paws on the ice and I pushed his back end up so he was on the ice, then I used the leash and him to kind of pull myself up onto the ice," Shaw said.

By this time, Samara had drifted 50 or 60 yards farther down the river, still bobbing in and out of the ice-cold water. Shaw and Rocky ran to her again, but she was still out of reach.

"I put the leash around Rocky and pushed him to get in the water and I told her if she could get ahold of his leash, we could get her back to the ice," Shaw said.

"He jumped in right beside her," he said, and the girl managed to get both hands on Rocky's leash.

"I called him back and he swam toward the ice," Shaw said, getting close enough that he could grab both the girl's arm and his dog and drag them away from the water's edge.

Fire rescue crews arrived shortly thereafter and took the sisters for treatment.

On Monday, they were home with their grateful mother, and Shaw and Rocky were being honored at the fire station -- Shaw with a fireman's hat and Rocky with a giant rawhide bone he grabbed from Fire Chief Ken Block before Block could take off its plastic wrapper.

"These two young ladies are very, very fortunate that such a family happened along and were able to intervene," Block said.

Shaw couldn't dispute that.

"I guess it's just a bit of a miracle that everything worked out perfectly," he told CTV.

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