Photo courtesy Los Angeles Department of Animal Services
Photo courtesy Los Angeles Department of Animal Services

A dog plucked from the rain-swollen Los Angeles River earlier this year was reunited Thursday for the first time with the firefighters who carried out the dramatic helicopter rescue.

Lucky, an 18-pound Welsh corgi mix, and his new owner, Rachel Dalby, visited the Los Angeles Fire Department’s Air Operations Center to thank the rescue crews.

Lucky somehow wound up in the fast-moving river on Jan. 30 when an unexpected storm slammed parts of the Southland. Rachel Dalby spotted the pup in the water and called authorities, who sent rescue crews to the scene near the Cahuenga Pass.

“I provided his current location and I also continued pacing him with my car,” Dalby told reporters at the LAFD center. “I knew about the speed he was traveling, which was about 5 miles an hour, or less.”

LAFD crews eventually located the dog, and a helicopter crew lowered a firefighter into the water. The rescuer was able to grab the dog and hang on to him as the helicopter lifted both to safety. The ride out of the river was a windy affair, with both twisting dramatically before they were lowered onto dry land.

The dog was taken to Los Angeles’ North Central animal shelter in Lincoln Heights and checked out. Authorities then waited to see if his owner would claim him. Lucky had a collar but was not microchipped.

Dalby, however, had her eyes on adopting the pooch, but she couldn’t take him home until after a waiting period to allow his owner to come forward.

With the dog still unclaimed on Feb. 5, Dalby finally got her wish and adopted the roughly 6-year-old pooch.

“When I saw him in the water, instantly I wanted to take him home. That was it,” Dalby said when she adopted Lucky.

While visiting LAFD today, Dalby said she was gratified to have Lucky as her new companion.

“It was just very natural to me to take him in and he’s just — he made my house a home,” she said.

—City News Service

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