On Valentine’s Day 2019, a man named Don Chatten showed that he has a huge heart when he saved a stranger’s dog from drowning!
Chatten is a dog lover who lives in Buffalo, New York. Chatten has two rescue dogs of his own, and he regularly takes them to the Bark Park at Ellicott Creek Park to play off-leash.
On Valentine’s Day, he took his pups, Duke and Milo, to the park like usual. When he was leaving the park, an anxious-looking man approached Chatten and asked if he’d seen a little terrier named Jackson. Chatten said he would help the man look for his lost dog, and the two split up and began searching.
Chatten, Duke, and Milo walked all around the park, but they didn’t see the terrier. Then, they reached a pedestrian bridge that went over Tonawanda Creek. Suddenly, his dogs stopped walking and began whining.
Chatten looked down into the creek, and he saw a tiny terrier struggling to stay afloat in the icy water.
There were two other women standing near the creek, Mary Balicki and Samantha Kelly. Balicki said they should call 911, but Chatten worried that Jackson wouldn’t be able to make that long. Jackson’s owner was nowhere in sight, and so Chatten quickly decided to jump into the water himself to save the dog. He handed Balicki his flannel shirt and wallet and jumped in.
Chatten had grown up in the area, and so he knew the water was shallow near the bank of the creek.
“I kind of crawled up on the ice, and the ice gave away…At that point, I was up to my waist in water, but I knew it was shallow because I knew that park…I knew it was shallow, so I just kind of broke the ice and pulled the dog out.”
Chatten quickly reached the terrier and pulled him out of the water. Chatten took a slightly different path back to shore, and he had to break up more ice. He had a little trouble breathing near the end of his journey, but thankfully, he safely made it back to shore.
Balicki and Kelly were both amazed by Chatten’s bravery.
“Not many people would jump in for someone else’s dog,” Balicki told The Buffalo News. “He just saw a situation, and he just handled it.”
Chatten returned Jackson to his grateful owner, and his owner rushed the freezing dog to the vet. Thankfully, the dog was okay!
Samantha Kelly posted photos of Chatten’s daring rescue on Facebook, and many people called him a hero. Chatten said he wasn’t really a hero—it was Duke and Milo who spotted Jackson.
“I just did the grunt work,” Chatten said.
In May 2019, the American Red Cross of Western and Central New York presented Chatten with their Animal Rescue Hero Award. After risking his life to save little Jackson, Chatten deserved this award!
Chatten is a brave man who did an incredible job at saving a tiny terrier from an icy creek. If you’d like to learn more about Chatten’s rescue, check out the video below.
Please SHARE this with your friends and family.