Initially, the call came in as a woman screaming for help. St. Louis County Police dispatchers heard from residents living near Cliff Cave Park who reported they could hear a woman screaming "help me" in the woods. Turns out, the woman was Pam Buchanan and she was calling out for her lost dog "Murphy" not yelling "help me."
While on a walk, Murphy took off into the woods to chase deer.
When officers, fire crews, and other rescuers arrived, they learned that they were not there to help a woman hurt or trapped in the woods. Still, Pam says she was pleasantly surprised when some of the rescuers insisted on staying to help find her dog.
Murphy was found on a patch of land, trapped by rising flood waters.
Sergeant Daniel O'Neil and Officer Kevin Martin went into the water. They followed the shore line, hanging onto trees and each other. It was dark and the water was cold, but they finally reached that patch of land. Officer Jared Ruhland stayed on land and shined a spotlight to guide the way. He also stayed in touch with dispatchers to make sure everyone knew the two officers in the water were safe.
After carrying Murphy back to shore, the border collie was checked out by a vet. He's is perfect health.
Officers say it was not a busy night Sunday, so they had time to perform the rescue.
Sgt. O'Neil has 24 years of law enforcement experience, this was his first animal rescue. He says he has three dogs himself and couldn't bear to leave the woods without at least trying to save Murphy.
Officer Martin has 14 years of experience in law enforcement. This is his 2nd time rescuing a dog in danger of drowning. The first time: a dog was drowning in a pool.
Officer Jared Ruhland just graduated from the police academy in March. He said he was relieved when he learned a woman wasn't trapped or hurt in the woods, but he didn't hesitate to try and help find the dog.
He said, "If we can help her, we'd might as well. I mean, that is our job."