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December 2, 2009 > Union Sanitary District employees thanked for dog rescue

Union Sanitary District employees thanked for dog rescue

Submitted By Michelle Powell

Three Union Sanitary District (USD) employees were recently honored for their efforts to rescue two dogs stranded in Alameda Creek in October. The dogs' owners, the Chadha family of Union City, brought their pets to the District's administrative offices in Union City to visit their rescuers.

USD Mechanic Mat Grabowski was performing maintenance on USD's main sewer lines near Alameda Creek in Union City when he spotted two dogs standing shoulder-deep in the water. Grabowski attempted to coax the dogs out of the creek and honked the horn of his vehicle, but it became clear that the smaller dog was stuck and sinking into the soft mud and silt of the creek bed. The stranded dog's companion wouldn't leave him behind as he struggled, his head repeatedly sinking into the water.

Grabowski's coworkers, Louis Rivera and Chris Nicoletti, called the Union City Police and were told that a missing dog report had just been phoned in. The dogs' owner, Balvinder Chadha, who had been searching for them after he discovered that they had gotten loose, came upon the group. The larger dog, Spike, was intent on protecting his distressed friend Leo and kept rescuers at bay. Chada worked to get the protective dog out of the way. "Somehow I was able to lure Spike out and grab him," he said. Grabowski tied himself to the bumper of his vehicle, dove into the creek and swam out to Leo while his coworkers held on to the line. "I saw that Leo was just about spent," he explained. Chada's extended family, which had gathered alongside the creek, watched Mat push and lift Leo out of the mud inch by inch until Chadha could pull the dog to safety.

"It was just like a Disney movie," Chadha said of Mat's actions. "He jumped right in and swam in the cold, dirty creek water. If those guys hadn't seen the dogs...they would have drowned." The family brought Leo, Spike and Spike's sibling, Max, to watch as Chada told the story to USD employees. The family presented the mechanics with a hand-drawn Thank You card signed with their pets' pawprints. The mechanics gave Spike an award certificate for acting as Leo's protector and best buddy, and presented the dogs with inscribed collars.

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