City Employee Saves Dog From River

Julie Happy, 509.625.7773

Wednesday, November 21, 2018 at 9:14 a.m.

A West Central Spokane woman is thankful a City of Spokane employee rescued her dog from the Spokane River. On October 29, Mary Ellen Doty was walking her dog “Mack” off-leash, in the Kendall Yards area, when Mack disappeared over an embankment. Mack had been missing for about two hours when Code Enforcement Officer Rob Chiappe heard someone across the river yelling about a dog struggling in the swift current.

Officer Chiappe was able to traverse the steep hillside terrain and pull the very tired dog from the water. Mack lost the use of his rear legs from all the exertion of surviving the river. Officer Chiappe and Doty’s adult son then took turns carrying Mack, a black lab who is 12 and weighs about 80 pounds, back up the steep slope.

The owner took Mack to the vet where x-rays thankfully showed no sign of serious injury.

“Rob went down a very, very steep embankment to get to the river and got my dog out of the river or he’d be dead for sure. And then he helped my son carry the dog out of there, which is nothing but straight up. It’s just really heroic and way above and beyond the call of duty. I just want to recognize him,” Doty said in a voicemail she left for Officer Chiappe’s superiors.

The owner brought Mack to City Hall recently to thank Officer Chiappe for his service in rescuing her dog from the river. Mack survived and has made a full recovery, a tribute she gives to Officer Chiappe. She doesn’t think Mack would still be with her without his efforts to rescue him.