Police Officer Rescues Dog from Fire on Boat

April Livingston | June 15th, 2018

When officers arrived on scene at the San Rafael Yacht Harbor, the fire was burning intensely. The sails were tattered and it seemed that the entire boat was about to go up in flames. It was early in the morning, but somehow the fire had broken out on the boat. Firefighters were also on the scene and were trying desperately to put out the intense blaze at the California marina. However, there was one thing they were unable to do, which was find a way to rescue the frightened dog that was trapped on the boat. That is when one police officer knew he had to do something.

Officer Travis Ruggles did not realize there was a dog on board at first, but soon saw the pit bull mix hiding underneath wooden planks on the ship. And the brindle colored dog was obviously terrified. Travis says bystanders were standing on the dock and screaming that there was a dog and begging him to help the pup. The officer saw the dog huddled up in a corner of the boat, trying to avoid the flames that were creeping closer and closer. Travis knew it was not possible to board the ship to save the dog, so rescuing him on the water was their best bet. He was ready to jump in and swim over, but he quickly got a better idea.

San Rafael Police Department//Facebook
San Rafael Police Department//Facebook
San Rafael Police Department//Facebook

Officer Travis found a rowboat nearby and hopped in, paddling toward the boat—and the dog. The next trick was to get the dog to trust him, and Travis was just the person for that job. As a horse trainer and animal lover, he calmly approached the dog. The dog was barking and growling, but Officer Travis was not deterred. He spoke softly and calmly to the dog, and then reached up to pet him. That’s when he noticed the dog’s body language change and he used that opportunity to pull him into the boat. He was safe now, and just in time: as he paddled away with the dog (whose name is Tiger) the entire boat was engulfed in flames. Tiger was reunited with his family and has a clean bill of health thanks to Officer Travis’ quick thinking!

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