Dog saves boy from river |

Dog saves boy from river

Bobby MagillGlenwood Springs correspondent

Ryan Rambo survived Hurricane Katrina. On Sunday, he survived a fall into the Roaring Fork River thanks to Zion, Chelsea Bennett’s yellow Labrador retriever. Ryan, 9, fell out of a private raft Sunday afternoon after it hit a log on the Roaring Fork River near the Riverside Cottages and the Old Cardiff Bridge, said Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario. Rescuers tried to reach Ryan with ropes from the shore but couldn’t get to him, Vallario said. Bennett, 13, and 2-year-old Zion were playing along the shore when they saw Ryan. “A little boy was going down in his life jacket,” she said Monday. “He was screaming for help.”Zion jumped into the river and swam toward Ryan, Bennett said. “He grabbed onto my dog, and my dog brought him into shore,” she said, adding that she helped Ryan climb onto the bank. They walked all the way to Cardiff Bridge, where they found two police officers who had responded to the accident.Deana Rambo, Ryan’s mother, was standing on the shore near Ryan’s takeout point when she saw rescuers near the bank. “I just immediately knew something was wrong,” she said. “I stopped a cop, asked what was going on, and he said a little boy was lost in the river. I just knew it was Ryan at that point.”She didn’t hear anything for an hour while rescuers searched for Ryan. “It felt like maybe four hours.”Ryan survived the ordeal with only a scratch, Deana said. Ryan, who is a second-grader at Sopris Elementary School in Glenwood Springs, has survived more than just the Roaring Fork River. He and his family moved to Glenwood Springs last year after Hurricane Katrina ravaged their home in Marrero, La.In an interview last September, Deana said the family came to Glenwood Springs after a week-long ordeal surviving with neither running water nor electricity in a two-bedroom house packed with four families. “How ironic, isn’t it?” Deana said Monday. “We come here to get away from floodwaters, and he nearly drowns in the river.”She said a sheriff’s deputy told her the sheriff’s department hopes to give Ryan, Zion and Bennett an award for bravery. Vallario said it’s rare to hear of a dog saving a boy’s life. “It sure is a hell of a Mother’s Day present for Ryan’s mother,” Vallario said. “I’ve never heard anything like it before.”Bennett, a student at Glenwood Springs Middle School, said, “I’m really proud to be the owner [of Zion] for one thing, and I’m glad he’s a Lab because they’re mostly the dogs that love the water.”Deana said it’s hard to believe Zion was able to rescue Ryan, adding that Ryan did what he was told and stayed calm when he fell out of the raft. “He did good,” she said. “It could have ended up a lot worse.”

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