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Off-duty deputy rescues puppy

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Riley kisses Trey Snow on Thursday at their home in Spring Hope.

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BY WILLIAM F. WEST
Staff Writer

Saturday, August 10, 2019

NASHVILLE — An 11-year-old Spring Hope area boy learned how quickly Nash County Sheriff’s Office personnel react to the first signs of distress when an off-duty deputy rescued his 7-month-old female puppy from an outdoor bass fish holding tank.

Trey Snow’s pet, Riley, was pulled out by Deputy Brooks Heath, who happened to be driving home early the evening of June 30. Snow told the Telegram that Riley was in roughly 10 feet of about 65-degree water.

“I was crying,” Snow recalled of the moments prior to Brooks saving Riley. “I was scared because she’s my best friend.”

“The water was up to her neck,” Heath said, noting Riley would swim around and then stand for a time on an unknown part of the tank. “She looked pretty beat up.”

“The whole situation was miraculous,” Trey Snow’s mother, Jill Snow, 43, said.

As for having his pet back, Trey Snow said, “I’m just so thankful that she’s OK and doesn’t have the gunk in her eye and is not stuck down there, especially.

“She’s still limping on one leg, though,” he said.

Snow told the Telegram the details of what happened to Riley.

He said he wears pajamas, even during the daytime in summer, and was in his sleeping attire when his father, Marion Snow, 42, at about 5 p.m. arrived home from work. Marion Snow was going to check the family garden.

He could not find his son’s pet, prompting the father and son to start looking all over and calling Riley by name.

“And we heard barking and barking and barking,” Trey Snow said, noting Riley had only twice barked in the past.

He said he was running across the shoulder of the nearby road when he saw a hill.

“And then I saw this rotted plank that was overgrown, very, very overgrown,” he said.

Riley was down in the tank, which is on a neighbor’s property.

“She was on her hind legs, jumping and jumping and jumping, trying to get out,” he said.

The son said after he found Riley, his father and mother both came running next to him and the puppy.

Heath, 36, has been working for the Nash County Sheriff’s Office for about three years and has been in law enforcement for about 10 years.

Heath said while driving a truck, he encountered a young man running down the shoulder of the road in pajamas in approximately 95-degree heat, with a look of panic on his face and his parents running behind him.

Heath said he turned the vehicle around to see if he could intervene.

“I really thought he was running away, was kind of the first mindset that I had,” Heath said. “And he quickly told me his dog was in a well and was drowning.”

Heath said he went back to the vehicle and got a ratchet strap. Marion Snow held his feet as he got into position to make the rescue.

He said he was able to pull Riley out by placing the ratchet strap around her collar. He said he believes Riley had been trapped for at least a few hours.

Sheriff Keith Stone said he had never had a case such as the recent rescue of Riley.

“First of the first,” Stone said.

Stone presented Trey Snow with the badge of an honorary junior deputy sheriff, not only for diligence in trying to save Riley’s life, but also for not putting himself in danger by going to his parents for help.

The rescue received much attention on social media after Trey Snow wrote Stone saying although he could not remember the deputy’s name, the deputy was so brave.

“It’s good that, given the time that most of the things on the news right now are shootings and stuff like that, that there’s a good, heartwarming story on the news,” Trey Snow told the Telegram.