(FOX 9) - For 13 years going on 14 years, George Niskanen’s St. Bernard Ed has been living the life. Ed has acres of hilly, wooded terrain to roam free on, and part of the land even borders the Minnesota River in Carver County. But this month, when Ed didn’t come home to eat overnight, Niskanen started to worry.
Then, a group of more than a dozen canoers passed by with good news on Saturday afternoon.
"I was jubilated, excited to the fact that he was found, but I was very surprised that he was down there," Niskanen told FOX 9 on Sunday. The farm dog was stuck deep in a paralyzing life-or-death situation along the banks of the Minnesota River, and time was not on his side.
"He was obviously tired and stressed, but he was still alive, and that’s the main thing," Carver Fire Department Capt. 6 Chad Rasuch said. "When the canoers came upon him, he let out a little bark to help them find him. They said he was up to his head [in mud], or his front paws were out, and that was about it."
Alongside three volunteer firefighters, the canoers used paddles to dig Ed out, saving his life. Once pried free, the dog was carted home about a mile away up the property.
"He didn’t have anything in him, he didn’t bark, he whimpered a little bit… he was probably pretty scared, but he’s a survivor obviously," Rausch said. "The poor guy didn’t have much longer in him… if they wouldn’t have seen the dog, there’s no way yeah he wouldn’t survive another day."
After a good bath, and with a lot of rest, Ed is regaining his strength where he belongs, at home.