Thursday May 26th was a nice afternoon to walk the dogs along Lake Natoma. Thor, a brindle Boxer, couldn’t have been more excited. As he ran towards the water’s edge, he suddenly realized he was on a smooth piece of granite. Thor couldn’t stop sliding, right into the frigid water rushing underneath the Rainbow Bridge from Folsom Lake. His elderly owners helplessly watched Thor struggle to hold his paws on the slippery granite.

At the Folsom Police Department, officers were just preparing to leave the station for the cover watch when dispatchers received a frantic call from a bystander on the adjacent walk bridge. Dispatch quickly sent an animal control officer to the bridge to assist.

Officer Rob Challoner was just leaving the station when he heard the call. He remembered the department keeps a canine rescue noose at the station, so he quickly grabbed it, and rushed to the Rainbow Bridge hoping he could help.

When Officer Challoner arrived, he found the distraught couple, who directed him to Thor. Officer Challoner leaned out with the noose as far as he could, but now he was slipping and off balance. In the nick of time, a Lieutenant from State Parks arrived on scene and grabbed Officer Challoner’s belt, which afforded him the balance to reach Thor and pluck him from the cold rushing water. Both officers received cheers from the onlookers who had gathered, curious about the commotion.

rainbow bridge

Officer Challoner later said “Thor was a brave little guy. When I arrived, it looked as though he was hanging on by his nails. I’m glad the Lieutenant from State Parks arrived, otherwise I might have been hanging on the edge with Thor.”

The Folsom Police Department and Animal Services wants to take this opportunity to remind owners that walking your dog off-leash may seem safe, but this is just one example as to why these ordinances exist. Everyone, including dogs, should respect the cold water that traverses Folsom and recognize the dangers it poses, especially this season.