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Daring Fire Rescue Saves Wayward Dog Trapped At Base Of Waterfall

PATERSON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- It was a "ruff" rescue at the turbulent Great Falls, where a dog was stuck on the base some 75 feet down.

Stormy weather made getting to the dog even more challenging for firefighters, CBS2's Reena Roy reported Monday.

Featuring gushing water and crashing waves, one of New Jersey's biggest waterfalls has been especially treacherous because of heavy rainfall.

In the thick of it all Sunday morning, a helpless pup got stuck on a slippery, rocky ledge right at the base of the rushing Great Falls.

"You don't know how long he's been down there. He's scared. Weather is bad. The sound of the falls is thunderous at the bottom," Paterson Fire Department Capt. Scott Parkin said.

In addition, there was a heavy mist flying through the air. Parkin battled the conditions as he repelled down a thin rope from a steel structure high above.

"We decided we weren't going to use the boats. It might be a little too dangerous. At that point, we decided we'd do a high-angle operation to lower myself down to where the dog was," Parkin said. "Right off the bat there were several challenges."

However, the captain and his fellow firefighters worked together strategically, calming the pup with treats.

"Just come here buddy. It's gonna be all right," Parkin said. "A little small talk, dog small talk and eventually he responded to it."

Eventually, the 3-year-old, 70 pound pit bull mix was placed in a net and then lifted slowly and carefully to safety.

The animal was taken to Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge in nearby Oakland. His new nickname? "Paterson."

"In general, he's really strong, happy. He's friendly. He's healthy," the refuge's Frannie Leurita said.

Paterson will be here recovering for the next week. If no one claims him, the firefighters are hoping to make him their new mascot.

"There's something here with him. He's definitely a good boy, absolutely," Parkin said.

A close call ended with a new pair of best friends.

There was mo word on how the dog ended up in the falls or how long he was there. A couple walking in the park spotted him and called for help, Roy reported.

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