She’s one lucky Lady
Dog, friend rescued from sticky situation
Recorder/David Rainville Johnny Graham, 23, of Turners Falls, and Lady, relax at home after a rough day. Graham got stuck in a cold stream while rescuing Lady, who belongs to his girlfriend's mother, and went missing Thursday.
TURNERS FALLS — A local man became stuck in a streambed while rescuing a dog near the Power Canal Saturday.
“The mud at the bottom was like a blanket,” said Johnny Graham, 23. “At first, I didn’t notice I was sinking in; it was so warm.”
Graham had fallen into the water at about noon, when the ice at its edge gave way as he tried to get to a yellow Labrador retriever named Lady. The 2-year-old dog, which belongs to his girlfriend’s mother, had been missing since Thursday morning. Graham and his girlfriend, Alli Galbraith, searched late into the night Thursday, and went back out for hours Friday. Up early and unable to sleep Saturday, Graham struck out alone to pick up the search.
When he found Lady, she was up to her neck in the stream, her legs sunk deep in the muddy bottom. As he worked to free her, one of his own legs became stuck in the mud, nearly hip-deep. He yelled for help, and someone nearby called police.
“I knew if I really needed to, I could have put her down, freed myself and gone for help, but I didn’t want to leave her there,” said Graham. “I knew someone would hear me.”
Graham and Lady were freed half an hour later, when a responding police officer held out a stick for him to grab.
Graham said he didn’t think Lady had been in the stream for very long, but he couldn’t tell.
Firefighters then arrived with their Gator all-terrain vehicle, and took them to a waiting ambulance.
“I felt fine,” said Graham, but he went to Baystate Franklin Medical Center just to be sure. Lady went to the Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Hospital in South Deerfield, where she got an examination and a much-needed bath.
“I couldn’t believe it; I was so relieved,” said Marylou Galbraith, Lady’s owner. “I was starting to get discouraged.”
She’d last seen Lady while out shoveling the driveway of their South High Street home.
“She’s run off before, but she usually comes right back, and she never leaves the street,” said Galbraith.
That was at about 9 a.m. Thursday, and since then, Lady had been all over. Graham got up early Saturday and went all around Cabot woods looking for Lady, and after an hour and a half, he moved to the other side of the canal, near the bike path.
“I followed some old tracks, and they led to newer ones, which led to other new ones,” he said. “Then I found a hollow thorn-bush, (the snow) dug out, with tracks in and out.”
If Lady had been using the bush as a doghouse, he thought, she was likely nearby.
By then, snow had begun to fall, and threatened to fill in her tracks. He followed the set that looked freshest, came to a clearing, and began calling her. Then, he saw her stuck in a stream under the high-tension power lines between the canal and Montague City Road.
Once they were un-stuck and through at the respective hospitals, Graham, Lady and Galbraith headed back to their home to get comfortable.
“Lady went to lay in my room, right where she sleeps at night,” said Galbraith. She and Graham went to get changed.
“My clothes were covered in mud wherever she had touched me,” said Galbraith. “So is the car.”
The car and clothes will wash out, she said, and she’s just glad to have her pet back home. Now, she just has to keep an eye on Lady’s temperature, and make sure the hungry hound doesn’t eat too quickly and make herself sick.
Galbraith wants to thank everyone who has been looking for Lady, and all who helped spread the word via Facebook.
“I was amazed at how many people passed it on,” she said.
David Rainville can be reached at:
or 413-772-0261, ext. 279