When two dogs found themselves stranded on a boat in the middle of a mighty river, it looked like their days may be numbered. However, as the current forced them downstream, they heard a splash in the water. Another animal had risked its life to jump in. And now it was coming for them.
In December 2015 a video emerged on YouTube that depicted a rescue of epic proportions. The storyline had it all: heart-pounding danger, intense drama and, most importantly, an extremely unlikely hero to save the day.
The action appears to have unfolded in the United States. It stars two dogs that have gotten themselves into a sticky situation. Somehow, they have been pulled out into a fast flowing river in a canoe. As a result, they are being dragged downstream with seemingly no one to save them.
According to the video’s description on YouTube, the dogs jumped into the boat of their own accord. “When a gust of wind blew a feather-light canoe away from the gravel bar and into the river, two dogs ran and jumped inside it,” it explained.
In the footage, it seems the dogs are all too clear about the peril they face. They cry out in vain as the current carries them to a watery end. One of the dogs leans over the bow of the canoe, as if to attract someone’s attention. Meanwhile, the second animal cowers in the hull.
As desperation takes hold, the dog at the front of the boat starts to bark very loudly. At first, it seems his pleas go unnoticed. But then a potential rescuer enters the water at epic speed. The wannabe hero is a Labrador and he seems determined to get to his fellow canines.
The third dog cuts across the powerful tide and makes a beeline for the wayward canoe. As he does so, he barks out to the other dogs, perhaps to reassure them he’s on his way. But it’s not all plain sailing: as the Labrador makes it halfway across the river he starts to struggle in the current.
However, the determined dog refuses to be beaten. Somehow, it musters up the strength to continue. So, with a little help from the mighty river, he and the canoe soon come face to face. And that’s when the action really gets going.
Despite the fast-flowing water, the Labrador manages to grasp a cord hanging off the canoe in his jaws. With the lead firmly between his teeth, the dog starts to drag the vessel back to shore. As he does so, some people on the bankside begin to shout out encouragement.
“Good boy, Robbie. Bring them home,” one cries out. And that’s exactly what the dog does. Somehow, he turns the boat against the flow of the river and starts to heave it towards dry land. Soon, all three dogs are back on the shore and the crisis is completely averted.
When Robbie emerges on the riverbank, he receives a hero’s welcome. One of the onlookers rushes over to him and rewards his bravery with a pat on the head. Thanks to the Labrador, two canines were grateful to be alive.
However, Robbie appears to be unaware of the magnitude of his actions. Arriving back on dry land he shakes the water from his fur, giving the bystander a soaking in the process. All the while, he wags his tail gleefully – as if saving two dogs is really no big deal.
And, according to the video’s description, the fact that Robbie leapt into action wasn’t that surprising. However, what was impressive was that the other dogs knew he was coming to rescue them. “Labs will retrieve anything,” it reads.
“But what’s amazing here is that one of the dogs in the canoe takes the rope and places it over the side and into the water for the Labrador to grab a hold of,” the description reveals. So, it seems the epic rescue was actually somewhat of a team effort.
When the video of Robbie’s rescue arrived online, it quickly went viral. On YouTube, over 297,000 people have watched the footage. And many of them hailed the black Labrador as a hero in the comment section.
“That lab is for sure the hero of the day. I still trust dogs more than most people. They just seem to care more than the average human,” wrote one viewer. Meanwhile, another added, “Dogs are the best people. What a hero!”
However, not all comments the video attracted were so positive. In fact, some people called out the people present on the scene for not acting. “The human standing on the bank ‘cheering’ the black lab should have rescued those dogs,” read one such angry comment.
However, it soon emerged that people had misunderstood the video. The dogs’ owner spoke out on YouTube to explain that no animals were ever in danger. “Robbie, the black lab, had the strongest legs I’ve ever seen on a dog,” Deborah Faddis explained.
Faddis added that Robbie had always instinctively retrieved the lightweight canoe whenever it came loose. And, when the other dogs – Rusty and Bullet – learned this, they decided to make it into a game. They’d jump in the boat and float for a while, safe in the knowledge that Robbie would collect them.
Sadly, Robbie’s canoe retrieving days are now behind him. According to Faddis, the old boy developed arthritis and can only swim with the help of a lifejacket. However, thanks to his internet fame, he will remain a hero in the minds of many.