Man nearly dies trying to save drowning dog

Dog and owner swept away in strong current
Posted at 10:39 PM, Jun 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-15 00:39:13-04

Fast moving waters swept away a dog that stopped to get water during a hike. Her owner, Justin Huffmon, went in after his beloved pet but soon realized he made a terrible mistake.

“The water was just churning and churning and churning and I was tumbling and I had no bearings whatsoever,” said Huffmon.

The current sucked him down several feet where he believes he was trapped under a large boulder.

Huffmon was hiking with his fiancé and friends in the Cheesman Canyon. They planned to hike to the bottom of the dam and have a picnic.

“I didn’t even think about it, I just jumped in thinking I would be able to grab her and get back out,” said Huffmon.

He jumped in after his 9-month-old Pyrenees named Reagan. Huffmon describes how he saw the dog floating down the river and watched her go under.

Once in the water, Huffmon was fighting for his own life. He tried to swim toward the surface but hit his head on a rock. He continued to struggle until he was finally able to escape.

"And I just said I’m not gonna die,” said Huffmon.

Even when he reached the surface, he continued floating downstream, unable to make it to shore. A group of fisherman heard his friends calling for help and pulled Huffmon to safety.

During the ordeal he saw his dog’s body float by. No one has seen the dog since and he believes she is likely dead.

If anyone recovers the dog’s body he is asking for it to be returned so they can give the family pet a proper burial.

Huffmon is encouraging everyone to be extremely careful near water, especially this time of year.

“In a moment you know when I honestly for the first time in my life thought I was gonna die, I just feel very very lucky to be given a second chance,” said Huffmon.