After more than two hours, firefighters were able to lasso Scooby in the middle of the river.
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dog that was rescued from a Los Angeles river tide looking up at the camera
Credit: Nid Goloti / Getty

Los Angeles fire crews worked hard to save a dog from the flooded Los Angeles River this week and had to pull a couple of people out in the process.

Heavy rains brought flooding to various parts of the City of Angels this week, including turning the LA River into dangerous, fast-moving rapids. Along with pulling cars from flooded streets, the Los Angeles Fire Department responded to a call Monday for a woman and her dog who had fallen into the river near Burbank Boulevard and were caught in the currents, according to KTTV.

After more than two hours pursuing the dog, firefighters were able to lasso German shepherd mix Scooby in the middle of the river and bring him back to safety in a rescue caught on camera from the KABC helicopter.

Earlier, LAFD's swift water rescue team pulled the dog's 35-year-old owner from the river with the use of a helicopter. However, the currents swept Scooby downstream.

While the woman was transported to a local hospital for evaluation, LAFD continued to try and rescue Scooby, but the rescue was complicated by a well-intentioned—but ill-equipped—civilian.

"I see this gentleman hop the fence and jump in to try and save the dog," witness Aimee Competelli told KTTV.

The 28-year-old man jumped the fence and plunged into the waist-deep waters, wrapping Scooby in his arms and holding him against the cement embankment as the water swirled around them.

"We know that individual was well-intentioned as well as other people are obviously very concerned about that canine, you better believe we are, too. But when civilians jump in who don't have the proper personal protective equipment and training to effect a rescue, they often become patients themselves," LAFD Capt. Erik Scott told KTTV.

Sure enough, the stressed and frightened Scooby bit the man and drifted downstream while LAFD crews had to refocus their efforts on pulling the man from the river.

"In a moment of panic, everything—and everyone—new may seem like a potential danger," says Jenna Stregowski, RVT and Daily Paws' pet health and behavior editor. "The dog was probably already terrified by the situation and found the rescuers terrifying as well.

"It's really common for animals in rescue situations to be this afraid, so [people] can best help animals in danger by contacting trained professionals who have the right gear," Stregowski explains.

Eventually, after what the LAFD estimated was two and a half hours, rescuers pulled Scooby safely from the river and took him to a local animal hospital for evaluation. Officials with Los Angeles Animal Services said the exhausted pup had some light abrasions on his paws but was otherwise unhurt. He's expected to reunite with his human very soon.