PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Man's best friend is being credited with saving its owner's life during a scare in Port St. Lucie.
The Port St. Lucie Police Department said 81-year-old Harry Smith — who uses an electric wheelchair — was walking his dog near a pond when his wheelchair lost traction, causing him to slide and flip into the lake.
"I tried to back around to get out of it, and it went straight back instead, and right down the embankment, and dumped me right in the water," Smith said.
Smith — who couldn't swim and struggled to stay afloat — started screaming for help.
That's when Smith's dog, Sarah Jane, realized its owner was in trouble and desperately needed help. The dog started barking frantically, trying to get anyone's attention.
Sarah Jane was able to get the attention of Edward Suhling and his friend, Jacob. The two were working across the street.
"When we looked over there, the dog was splashing in the water. So we both ran over here, and I jumped in the water," Suhling said.
They were able to flag down a Port St. Lucie police officer who happened to be in the area.
"Only his head was above the water. The wheelchair was in the water," Suhling said.
Suhling, Jacob, and the officer jumped in, working together to pull Smith up the bank. All of them jumped into action, thanks to Sarah Jane — Smith's hero.
"Sensing his owner was in trouble, his dog began to bark loudly which alerted two bystanders across the street," the police department wrote in a Facebook post.
He received medical attention at the scene and was cleared to return home. Because Smith's wheelchair was damaged, the officer and St. Lucie County firefighters pushed him home.
"We are thankful for Mr. Smith's dog and the two bystanders that helped save his life!" the police department wrote on Facebook. "And as the saying remains true…A man's best friend is his dog."
Smith said he was sure to thank Sarah Jane for saving his life.
"I gave her a treat," Smith said, laughing. "I love her, always have, always will."
This story was originally published by Matt Papaycik and Ryan Hughes on Scripps station WPTV in West Palm Beach, Florida.