HINSDALE – A relaxing stroll in the park turned to hysteria the morning of Oct. 31 after a 115-pound Bernese Mountain dog named Sammie was swept away in a current while getting a drink of water from the stream at Katherine Legge Memorial Park.
Deputy Chief Mark Wodka of the Hinsdale Police Department said the stream's current was accelerated due to the excessive morning rainfall and became stronger than usual. Wodka said police were called by the nanny, who was walking the dog, at about 9:15 a.m. that morning.
"The dog, while it was drinking, was swept away by the current and ended up being swept into the drain tunnel and that's where the nanny had last seen the dog," Wodka said.
That drain tunnel is about 3 to 4 feet in diameter, and runs underground about 1,000 feet toward Interstate 294. Wodka said thankfully the sewer was only about a quarter to a third full of water, meaning it is not believed the dog had a lack of oxygen as it was carried through the tunnel.
"I used the term that the dog basically went on a doggie waterslide, and I say that because it's essentially what happened physically once inside the drain pipe," he said.
Wodka said the officers who responded, Matt Miller, Louis P. Hayes Jr., Tony Maraviglia and Tom Yehl, immediately recognized the geographical terrain and where the water runs off so they could form a strategy in spreading out to locate Sammie.
"By having a hasty plan they were able to develop a means that they would find the dog and with hopes they would find the dog safe and unharmed," he said.
Sammie was carried about 1,000 feet and found 500 feet from where she disappeared at the intersection of Tomlin Court and Laurie Lane in Burr Ridge. Wodka said the dog did not suffer any life-threatening injuries, just some injured paws believed to be caused from clawing at the concrete.
"It was a nice outcome telling the family members their dog was OK and being able to find it pretty quickly, especially after having the feelings of seeing your dog get swept away like that," he said.
Wodka said this also serves as a reminder for dog owners to keep a watchful eye on their canines and be aware of their surroundings.