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This Labrador Retrieved a Drowning Man!

by Bethany Meissner

Would you jump into freezing cold water to save the life of a stranger? Woody, a rescued Labrador Retriever mix did just that in March. Jason DuBose is a boat captain with Oldfield Outfitters in Okatie, South Carolina. He has a lot of great days on the water, but as he posted on Facebook, March 21, 2018 is one he “won’t be forgetting for a long while!” What made the day so unforgettable? Well, not only did Jason help save the life of a man whose boat had flipped on the Okatie River, he witnessed Woody literally save the life of one of the other passengers of that flipped boat!

Photo Credit: Jason DuBose

According to the Island Packet, a woman was walking on a trail near the Okatie River when she heard screams and alerted a local community’s security office. The office in turn contacted Oldfield Outfitters to ask them to investigate. When Jason and his team got to the water, they found that three men had been dumped in the river. One man had managed to make it through the marsh and onto dry ground while another, who had gotten stuck in the marsh, was found by Jason. Jason’s team rescued the man who Jason wrote was “buried up to his waist in the mud” of the marsh. They brought him to the dock where EMS quickly took over warming up the man who was suffering from hypothermia.

The third man, Mason Ringer, was struggling in the cold water and cramping up. Mason had removed his sweatshirt and shoes to try to stay afloat, but the cold and mud were keeping him from reaching dry land. Suddenly, he heard the sound of a dog barking. It was Woody.

Woody is a seven-year-old Labrador Retriever mix dog who lives with the Atkinson family in Savannah, GA. The Atkinson family adopted Woody from an animal shelter in 2011 and absolutely love him. That day Woody was outside getting some exercise on a family trip to Okatie. Our hero normally enjoys swimming and even picking up rocks, but rescuing people isn’t an everyday event for him. Susan Atkinson told the Island Packet that normally Woody hates loud noises, but “he’s got bravery in other ways.” 

Woody certainly proved that when he spotted Mason in the water. He leapt into action, jumping into the river and speedily swimming over to the twenty-four-year-old man. He allowed Mason to grab his collar so he could tow the near-freezing man to an old dock. Mason was in shock when he reached the dock, but he was finally safe. Along with his two friends, Mason made a full recovery. He owes his survival to Woody for jumping into the river, and the Atkinson family for saving Woody when they adopted him.

Halo donates a bowl of cat food or dog food to a shelter for every bag bought. That totals more than 1.5 million bowls of pet food every year helping pets like Woody get a second chance. Not all of those pets will literally and dramatically save someone’s life like Woody did. However, all of them are important and deserve a forever family. It’s Mason’s good luck that Woody found his forever family with the Atkinsons. We’re sure Mason hopes Woody is getting a lot of dog treats to celebrate his heroism. As Jason wrote on Facebook, Woody “without a doubt saved the man’s life!”