FORT BENTON — One-year-old Haka is safe on dry ground after a harrowing experience in the Missouri River in Fort Benton. Her owners did everything possible to rescue her, but ultimately it was the town's police chief who saved the day.
Haka is no stranger to the Chouteau County Fairgrounds: "I usually run the dogs out here. I just kind of go around in circles and they run after me. I got to that end over there and I just had one dog. I was like, 'Where's the other dog at?’” said Haka’s owner, Carlos Rodriguez.
The other dog, Haka, was in the Missouri River.
"I looked over here and I saw his head popping out of the water and he was pretty much surrounded by ice. He was just in a little channel of water,” Rodriguez explained.
Rodriguez first tried to use a tow strap in his side-by-side to rescue Haka.
"I was, like, 'Well, it's not long enough to get to him.' I was going to try to throw it to him so he could bite it and maybe pull him up or something,” Rodriguez said.
The next option was the winch cable on the side-by-side, but that didn't work either, so he called his wife Jeannine and asked for a rope.
She couldn't get the rope, so she called 911.
"I've worked in emergency medicine for 15 plus years now and I've never run an emergency that made me feel that sort of adrenaline because this is my kid. I thought he was going to die and I was watching it,” Jeannine said.
Fort Benton Police Chief Adam Jacques arrived and knew he needed to act quickly.
"Once I went down to see where he was, I carry a life vest in the vehicle. I put on the life vest, took off all my gear, ran down there,” said Jacques.
Getting to Haka was easy enough, but getting him out of the water proved difficult.
"The dog was tired, or scared, so he just kind of froze. at that point, I yelled over to them. I said they're going to have to pull us so I held onto the dog and they pulled with the rope and were able to get us both out of the water,” said Jacques.
Carlos and Jeannine said they will now keep a closer eye on Haka when they let him run out at the fairgrounds in the future.