A dog was found right next to the water at the Great Falls in Paterson, and the dog was rescued by Paterson Firefighters on 08/12/18. Mitsu Yasukawa/NorthJersey.com, North Jersey Record
A firefighter rappelled down to the base of the Great Falls in Paterson on Sunday and, with the roiling brown water of the Passaic River rushing by,Â rescuedÂ a stranded dog that was trapped on a bushy ledge just feet from the water.
Fire Capt. Scott Parkin, a 25-yearÂ veteran and chief of Paterson’s Rescue Company 2, managed to lure the dog toward him with some food and then got the dog into a large net-like bag, which other firefighters on a bridge high above the riverÂ pulled up. The Great Falls is nearly 80 feet tall.
The dog was relatively unscathed, and was taken to the localÂ animal shelter to be examined before being put up for adoption. The dog had a collar but no tag, and Mayor Andre Sayegh said he named the dog Paterson.
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When Parkin first reached the skittish pit bull, it started to edge out on a thin ledge of rock jutting toward the water.Â
â€śI was hoping he wasnâ€™t going to get too skittish and go over the edge but heâ€™s smart enough to know if he goes in the water heâ€™s got no place to go,â€ť Parkin said.
But Parkin, the owner of multiple dogs himself, lured the animal back toward him.Â â€śHe seemed to settle in.Â I coaxed him over,â€ť Parkin said. â€śHe got right in the net for me, which I was surprised at. I was able to cinch the net up around him. He poked his head out at the last minute so I had to push him back in and recinch the net, but he was okay with it.
â€śI think dogs are a lot smarter than we give them credit for,â€ť he said. â€śThey know when weâ€™re here to help and he knew it. He knew he was in trouble. I think he realized, this is it, I canâ€™t go any further, so let me try this idea, and he came to me.
â€śHe seems like a good boy,” Parkin said. “He wasnâ€™t aggressive, just scared.”
Dogs, he said, â€śare the best – sometimes better than people.â€ť
Parkin’s father, Joseph Parkin, a longtime Paterson firefighter, had rescued two dogs at the Great Falls in 1976.
â€śI got to repeat my fatherâ€™s performance from 1976,â€ť Parkin said. â€śThatâ€™s quite a family notch in our belt. I canâ€™t wait to give him a call and tell him.â€ť
“Like father, like son,” Sayegh said. “Rescuing dogs from the Falls runs in the family.”Â
A woman had called Paterson animal control Sunday to report that a dogÂ was stuck on an outcropping just a few feet above the Passaic River,Â said John DeCando, Paterson’s longtime animal control officer. Otherwise officials never would have known.
DeCando said there have been seven or so animal rescues over the past three decades â€” some dogs, and a few deer.
The volume of water racingÂ over the Great Falls was especially intense Sunday because of the torrent of rain that fell the day before.
OccasionallyÂ people throw dogs over the Great Falls, but it was not known how the dog came to be trapped on a ledge on Sunday.Â
A crowd of spectators, drawn by the impressive sight of the Falls,Â had clustered to watch the rescue but were pushed back by police.
â€śAny life is worth saving,â€ť said Paterson Fire Chief Brian McDermott. â€śBut this rescue was not as much of a risk as you might think because weâ€™re always training for this.â€ť
He said the team that assisted Parkin included about a dozen firefighters who managed an array of pulleys and ropes graded to hold 10,000 pounds. He said they used both a main line and a backup line when they lowered and raised Parkin.
â€śThese guys are phenomenal,â€ť Parkin said of his crew. â€śWe train for this all the time. I trust these guys with my life. Iâ€™d go off any structure at any height with the trust I have in these guys and the work they do.”
Firefighters originally planned to try and rescue the dog by boat. â€śBut the water was just so fast today that it would have washed the boat to the side, so we took the more cautious approach,â€ť McDermott said.
Parkin, he said, â€śis the most experienced rescue captain we have.â€ť
“This rescue gives new meaning to the phrase ‘Paterson’s bravest,’ ” Sayegh said. “We commend CaptainÂ Parkin for his courage, and he has made Paterson proud.”
Capt. Scott Mogan, who rescued a stranded dog, at the Great Falls, is interviewed . Mitsu Yasukawa/Northjerdey.com
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