PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -- A dog rescue this weekend in Portland resulted in a man jumping in the Willamette River to save the pup.

On Sunday, Bruce Silverman and his wife took their newly adopted 8-year-old Havanese Sunny to Sellwood Riverfront Park.

"He walked up to somebody who was like walking on the paved path, and I'm not sure what happened but he just got spooked," Silverman said.

Silverman says he and his wife adopted Sunny about six weeks ago.

He says Sunny used to be a show dog and he and his wife weren't sure if he'd ever been off the leash, so they went to the off-leash park to work with him.

Man jumps in river, saves dog near Sellwood Riverfront Park

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He says Sunny was fine for about twenty minutes, staying with the couple and coming over when they called him.

But Silverman says then something startled Sunny.

"The next thing we knew he was in a full sprint," Silverman said. I've literally never seen the dog run."

It became an all-hands-on-deck search effort to get Sunny as bystanders tried to help Silverman and his wife.

Sydney Gutin and Tyler Tibbetts were arriving when this was all happening at the park.

"We kind of just looked at each other and both joined the search group if you will," Gutin said.

Sunny ran all over and eventually somehow ended up in the river.

Tibbetts made a split-second decision and jumped into the frigid water.

"I dove which got me like half the way there and then luckily Sunny when he saw me started swimming towards me which was a huge relief so it wasn't a struggle once I was in the water with him," Tibbetts said.

Both Tibbetts and Sunny needed to get warm fast when they made it to land.

Tibbetts and Gutin say many bystanders helped with blankets and other clothes as well as blasting heat in cars to warm up the two.

Both Sunny and Tibbetts are doing just fine.

"When you see the dog floating I just didn't feel like there was that much thinking involved, like there wasn't that much of a choice to make," Tibbetts said.

The whole ordeal has the group reflecting on the beauty of humanity.

"He straight up saved the dog's life. And you know how do I feel about it? It's you know a moment of inspirational humanity in a time when we all need it," Silverman said.

"That human connection has just kind of been missing the past year so it was nice to see a group of random strangers come together," Gutin said.

The group acknowledged, maybe they've made some new friends out of all of this too.

Copyright 2021 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.


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(1) comment


If you've never let your dog off leash before, make sure you are in a safe and secure area. NOT near rivers, roads and other dogs you're unfamiliar with. I hope this dog is looked after more responsibly.

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