An Extremely Good Boy Saves Drowning Stranger in South Carolina

Lori Ennis
by Lori Ennis
A Labrador Retriever proved he really is everyone’s best friend when he saved a drowning stranger struggling in water.

Outside of Bluffton, South Carolina, a yellow Lab proved that retrieving is his thing, and he’d do it for anyone. Woody is a seven-year-old rescue who became a hero this week when he saved a drowning man from death as he struggled in the cold Okatie River.

Related: 10 Dog Breeds That Can’t Swim

According to the sheriff’s report from Beaufort County, three men were working on the refurbishing of a dock and decided to use their lunch break to boat around the Okatie River. The river’s temps were a cool 58 degrees, which did not bode well when one of the men flipped the boat in the choppy waters.

The three men were dropped into the water and the wind helped an already strong current pull at them with force. One of the men was able to swim the river and make it to shore, while another got stuck in pluff mud (a thick, almost quicksand like mud in the river that is difficult to muddle through). A local charter boat captain saw the man stuck in the mud and was able to get him, though the captain of the boat, Jason DuBose, said that he was in rough shape and had been in the cold water a significant amount of time.

The third man, however, wasn’t faring so well. He was bobbing in and out of the water and because the tide was coming in and the wind was so rough, the cold water nearly took his life.

Well…today was one I won't be forgetting for a long while! Tim Helm (Oldfield's Security Director), Jeremy Webb (my…

Posted by Jason DuBose on Wednesday, March 21, 2018

If not for Woody, who lives along the river and was watching the goings-on. Billy Sparks is the property manager for Woody’s family home and was watching Woody for his owners at the time. Sparks said he heard the commotion and saw the third man, Mason Ringer, desperately trying to survive.

According to Sparks, Woody saw what was going on, and of his own accord and without being told, ran down a broken ramp next door, jumped in and swam right to Ringer. Ringer was no longer able to swim on his own, and was calling for help, and Woody responded by coming right to him and letting Ringer hold onto his tail. Ringer was cramping because of the cold water, and couldn’t hold on, but Woody didn’t give up–instead, he swam back to Ringer and allowed him to hold onto his collar.

Related: Hydrogen Peroxide in Ears: Is It Good for Your Dog?

Woody pulled himself and Ringer through the cold water slowly, but surely, for about 10-15 minutes, and got him to the dock safely. Woody’s mama, Suzanne Atkinson, said they adopted him from the Humane Society in Nebraska in 2011, and said that he’d been originally put up for adoption from Florida. She says his full name is ‘Woody the Cowboy,’ and he loves the water and particularly swimming and pulling rocks up. Clearly, he was happy to assist in the water rescue.

Talk about a very, very good boy! Well done, Woody. Just goes to show that dogs really are any human’s best friend!

Lori Ennis
Lori Ennis

More by Lori Ennis