Amy and Joe Longwell decided to spend their Sunday doing something they had done many Sundays prior: having fun on the Chemung River. The couple lugged their kayaks to a landing near Big Flats, New York, and launched into the brisk waters. But what started out as a run-of-the-mill kayak trip would soon turn into a full-blown rescue mission.
“My wife and I always say that we see something different every time we kayak on the Chemung River, and [Sunday] was no exception,” Joe tells PressConnects.com.
Joe and Amy were coasting along on the Chemung when they spotted a group of kayakers making their way through a quick-current channel up ahead. “We wanted to see how they fared through the tricky spot, so we held back and waited for them to go through,” Amy explains.
As the kayaking group disappeared down the channel, Joe and Amy decided to bravely approach the difficult stretch of their journey. The couple safely maneuvered their way through the channel to the south shore on the other side, but before they could celebrate their victory Amy spotted something strange moving in the waters to her husband’s left. To the couple’s horror, they realized it was a large dog, desperately trying to pull himself to the surface of the dangerous current.
“I don’t know how I happened to spot him,” says Amy, but she and Joe knew they would have to act fast if they were going to be able to pull the struggling dog from the fast-moving waters. “We had to do something,” Amy explains.
As the dog fought to pull himself to the steep, muddy shores of a small island, Amy and Joe steered their kayaks towards him.
“We paddled over to the island and tried to stop ourselves alongside the dog,” Joe explains. “He was clearly exhausted and we could tell from the white fur on his snout that he was not a young pup.”
Just as the swift current began to pull the dog further downriver, Joe managed to grab hold of the blue nylon collar around the old boy’s neck. With Amy’s help, Joe pulled the dog up onto the edge of his kayak.
“Once I got him wedged onto my lap, he laid his head on my chest and began to shiver uncontrollably,” Joe said of the rescued dog.
With miles to go before reaching their truck, which they’d parked up ahead at Fitch’s Bridge, Amy, Joe, and their new friend had no choice but to continue paddling down the Chemung. When they passed the group of kayakers they’d seen at the channel to their backs, the group told Amy and Joe they hadn’t seen the dog before.
Finally, when they reached Fitch’s Bridge, Amy scrambled to the truck and pulled out a dog leash while Joe carried the soaking-wet dog out from the kayak. It wasn’t until the Longwells arrived home and gave the dog some time to dry off that they realized the large, red-haired pooch was a Golden Retriever. While Amy and Joe first decided to call him Lucky, they finally settled on what Joe feels is a more fitting name.
“After seeing his condition [Sunday] night, we decided on Notso, as in not so lucky,” Joe jokes.
Notso seemed healthy, but was clearly shaken by his experience. Meanwhile, the Longwells began the difficult task of trying to locate Notso’s owner. Knowing how social media has helped other dogs find their way home, Amy and Joe took to Facebook to tell the story of how they rescued an old Golden from the Chemung River.
Luckily, a Facebook user recognized the missing pooch and contacted Todd Moffe, who’d been scouring the area desperately searching for his missing 12-year-old Golden Retriever, Jordan. Moffe and Jordan were out on a johnboat taking a cruise Saturday afternoon when Jordan jumped off of the craft and into the waters below. Moffe thought nothing of it — Jordan loved to swim in the spring and summer — but the current on the Chemung was too strong. Jordan was quickly carried away from the johnboat, and all Moffe could do was look on with horror.
Moffe, who spent all day Sunday searching and took the day off of work Monday trying to find Jordan, was thrilled when he learned of the kayakers who rescued his dog. He contacted the Longwells and was reunited with Jordan Monday night.
“They were very happy to have him back and had just about given up on him,” explains Amy.
“[Joe Longwell] put that dog on a kayak,” Moffe tells the Detroit Free Press, full of gratitude to the couple who saved his dog. “The river is up and that’s not an easy feat. That tells you what kind of people they are.”
While Moffe wanted to compensate Amy and Joe Longwell for their good deed, the kayaking couple asked Moffe for another favor — to donate a bag of dog food to the local animal shelter. Moffe says he will happily comply in honor of Jordan and the kind people who pulled him from the river.