I only met Sam 3 or 4 times. The last time I saw him, M had brought him over for a play date. We took the dogs to the off-leash area on the beach, where they garnered many admiring looks as a fine handsome pair of Airedales should. He'd grown taller than Blue by then, much to M's surprise. He was bouncy and friendly and full of energy - a typical Airedale puppy, in fact. He was a struggle to bring up because of all that energy, but M and J were doing a great job and he was learning.
He should have had much longer.
M was walking him by the Humber River yesterday afternoon when they met some other dogs. She decided to let him off the leash - something she never normally does, except in a fenced area to put on a flexi instead. She doesn't understand why she did it. He ran away from the other dogs and to the river, and wouldn't come back, and slipped in. I'm not completely clear what happened next. I know M went in after him at one point; and some people brought a boathook or something but wouldn't, or didn't know to, try hooking it to his harness; and some people wanted to call 911 but someone else said they wouldn't come for just a dog, so they didn't. Realistically, it probably wouldn't have made much difference, but...
Someone brought M home and sat with her, and at some point she called my parents who called me, and also the police. We met her at the door, hoping for a miracle, and went down to the river to search. The police searched too -- at least 2 cars and the Marine Unit. I am so impressed by the police response. But nobody found anything.
The Humber moves fast, and it's wide, and right now it's almost covered with rotten-looking ice. I climbed down the bank in a few places and kept well away from the edge, hanging onto trees. If you fell in you wouldn't come out. I was shocked when I saw it. There's no ice out here in the Beaches, nor in the Don apparently. My new rule: no rivers. Lakes are OK. Rivers are treacherous.
There's no better feeling than walking into your home and getting a joyous greeting from your dog. It was so hard to go back to the apartment and see all the dog toys and blankets and dishes and crate. M said "He should be here."
I hope it was quick enough that he didn't have time to be too scared. I am so sad, and there's nothing anyone can do. M was distraught. She blames herself: for letting him off the leash, for not looking after him, for not calling 911 sooner, for not doing something different that would change the outcome. She keeps seeing his face as he went in. To make it even worse, her boyfriend's in Korea on business.
We all make stupid decisions and mistakes sometimes. It's just luck that most of the time, nothing bad comes of them. This time Sam wasn't lucky.
I came home and hugged the dogs and wished things were different.Cross-posted at http://electricland.dreamwidth.org/708554.html. comments.