A West Vancouver police dog handler has been recognized for the second time in two years for his role in a daring river rescue.
Const. James Hudson received the Meritorious Service Award, together with fellow constable Dominic Toa, at a ceremony at the Victoria home of B.C.’s Lieutenant Governor Thursday. The two officers were recognized for quick actions they took in 2011 when they saved a man from Cypress Creek ravine using dog leashes.
The honour follows on the heels of an award Hudson received in 2010 for his role in a rescue in the Capilano River.
Hudson and Toa were the first on the scene on the evening of July 20 last year when a 38-year-old hiker got stranded on a cliff face above the creek near Almondel Place. The man’s wife, who met the officers above the drop-off, explained that she and the victim had been walking their dog in the area when the pet had tumbled over the edge, falling 30 metres to the base of the ravine.
The husband had tried to pick his way down to the distressed animal but had gotten into trouble himself. He was now clinging to some small branches about halfway down the rock face.
Without proper rescue equipment, and with the man’s grip starting to give, the officers jury-rigged a rescue line from dog leashes, tied one end to a tree and lowered the other end to the victim. The man wrapped the line around one leg in a Swiss seat — an emergency rescue harness — and the officers hauled him to safety.
West Vancouver Fire and Rescue arrived a short time later, and extracted the pooch, who was taken to a vet with minor injuries.
Hudson received his previous commendation for helping in the rescue of Reginald Paul Jr. from the Capilano River on Sept. 13, 2009. Paul had fallen in the river while wading and was being swept downstream toward the sea when two passersby noticed his predicament. The men jumped in and swam out to him, and were hauling the unresponsive victim back toward shore when they reportedly started to tire.
Hudson, having just arrived on scene, took off his gun belt and went in after them, meeting the men partway and taking over the rescue as the men swam by themselves back to safety.
For his part in the rescue, Hudson received a medal at the annual Police Honours Banquet in Victoria in December 2010.
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