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Dog Saves Boy from Platte River

Tony Bailey and Jake, the Lab that kept Tony from being swept away in the Platte River. (Photo: Rebecca S. Gratz/The World-Herald)

Tony Bailey is a good swimmer. The 12-year-old loves to swim in the Platte River near North Bend, NE.; however, when Tony jumped in recently, he was quickly sucked in. Recent rains had swollen the river and Tony found that the water was now very deep with unusual currents. "It was, like, over my head and I couldn't touch," said Tony. Although he was only a few feet away from the shore, the strong current immediately began to pull him away from the shore and under.

Tony tried to cry for help, but he kept going under. His cries went unheard by everyone except for Jake, the 4-year-old family Labrador Retriever. Tony says that he saw Jake jump in and then his head went under the water. When he surfaced, there was Jake right beside him. He was able to grab the dog's neck and was taken back to shore by the pet.

Diane Bailey, Tony's mother, was shocked to learn that the Lab had acted so quickly. "It's something that I wouldn't have expected him to do," she said. "(Jake) doesn't listen. He doesn't mind."

Diane thinks that the heavy rains and flooding had changed the river channel, washing out much of the bank and making the river unexpectedly deep. "You think you know your dog well, and then he goes and does something like this. He's got a big heart and he does have a brain in there." Jake was rewarded for his bravery with a very big bone and the family has now forgiven every hole that he has dug along with every muddy footprint that he has tracked into the house.