Winston-Salem, N.C. (WGHP) — When Jay Council joined the City of Winston-Salem’s staff, “dog catcher” wasn’t included in his job description. Neither was “dog saver,” but Sunday, he was both. Council works full time with the city’s Community Development Department but has been picking up shifts at Salem Lake for eight years. Council’s shift Sunday included answering a call from someone at the lake, telling him there was a dog swimming, or at least trying to, in the middle of the lake.
“A hundred yards or so in front of the pier, the dog’s swimming across the water,” Council said.
The Salem Lake pier is 300 feet long, which means the dog was about 600 feet out from the shore. Council grabbed a large fishing net and ran to a boat.
“As I get down to the boat the dog starts coming over towards the bank,” he detailed.
He said the dog’s hind legs were so tired they were simply floating on the surface.
“I heard it whining and crying as it was coming to the side,” said Council.
The dog was barely paddling and struggling to stay above water when Council reached out with the net and scooped the dog out of the water, soaked, shaking and scared, and took him into the office. Inside, a woman took her jacket off and wrapped up the dog as Council, who has three dogs of his own, gave him treats.
“We don’t know where it came from, how it got there,” said Council.
The dog, now called Neptune, is in foster care thanks to Stepping Stones Canine Rescue. He’s named after the Greek god of freshwater.
“If you see an animal in distress, save it,” Council said. “You don’t know why it’s hurt or what’s going on with the animal. Just take the time out and save it.”