Experience

Saving a Dog From Drowning: Golf Marshal Adventures

Five years ago today I saved a dog, Buster, from drowning. Here’s what I wrote that night:

I’m so pumped. I saved this dog. It was trapped in the big lake between #6 and #14 on the Black Jack golf course and couldn’t get out. Brigitte Gramstat Griffith and her husband Pat, were playing golf next to the lake and heard it yelping. They waved me down as I was driving on #16 towards the retention lake.

Exhausted, he approaches edge.

I climbed up on the hill and could see the dog swimming in the middle. So I drove along the edge to the side closest and least difficult to rescue from. The lake has very slippery lined slopes.

I radioed the Clubhouse to have someone bring an extension ladder because I thought that would be my only access to save him. I scurried around the trees and brush while whistling to coaxed the dog toward my direction.

Serendipty kicked in as he made it to where it was shallow enough for him to catch his breath. As I approached I found some cord tangled on some branches. At this point, I looked up and saw more golfers lined up high across the lack. Too busy to notice before, they were yelling me on. Whew, was I glad to unravel the cord.

Fair Oaks Ranch, northwest of San Antonio.

No way I would let him drown. He was facing me so I’d have to rope his whole body in by getting it all the way around him. On my 12th attempt was able to loop it around his rear and hind legs. When he made it to shore he knocked me down, jumped on top of me…wouldn’t stop licking. It was emotional.

About this time Christopher Godwin drove up with a ladder. A beverage cart girl also arrived. Chris looked on his tag. His name is Buster. Owners came to Fair Oaks Ranch Golf Club to pick him up.

The owner and I are now Facebook friends. This is what I wrote her:

“Mrs. Tisdale, it was good for my soul. I keep thinking about the look in his eyes and I blurted out ‘Don’t you worry, you’re gonna be alright.’ I think talking to him calmed him down and he quit thrashing and yelping. That’s when I figured out he was a swimmer. So he followed me to a point the slope wasn’t as steep… To a point I thought I may be able to reach his collar and pull him out. But I couldn’t. It was just too slippery.”


“He tried, but kept sliding in. At least he was in shallow enough water to stand near the edge and not have to thrash. This gave him time to rest while I found the rope. After about 12 tries, the loop went around his hind legs and that was enough.”

“I remember grinning, but being afraid he might bite. No way. He jumped on me and knocked me backwards and licked my face. I just started laughing and held him. Then he got off and started walking away but sliding down. I went to him and he shook the water off and then followed me up the dirt berm and brush to the top and over.”

“That’s when I called on the radio ‘I’ve got the dog.’ Chris drove up with a ladder we were going to use and I asked him to take my picture when I read his name tag that his name was BUSTER. I called out the phone number to Chris who called you. The beverage cart girl drove up as Chris left to take Buster to the golf shop. She told me people kept trying to call me on the radio, but didn’t even hear them after I started looping him with the rope. Anyway, I love dogs. Have written many articles about them and I’m so very happy Buster is back home with his loving family tonight. Give him a hug for me.”

I learned Buster loved to go swimming in the family pool with their young daughters. For some reason he escaped from the backyard yard a few miles away from the golf course. We surmised that when he saw the lake he jumped right in!

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