Animal Control officer Clay Nowling consoles Bailey after the rescue. [ Rob Brown | Contributed ]

Officer rescues dog stuck in the mud

A lot of times it’s the quick thinking of a dog that rescues a person.

In this case, a crew from Franklin County returned the favor.

On Sunday, March 11, Mel Livingston, from Apalachicola, and Vermont architect Rob Brown, a regular winter visitor here for many years, were fishing on Whiskey George Creek north of Eastpoint in a small skiff. 

When they arrived in West Bayou, the men saw a dog immersed in the mud along the west bank. 

“It wasn’t moving, except for its head, as though stuck,” said Brown. “We couldn’t get closer than 100 yards because the water was so shallow.”

The men called Franklin County animal control, and quickly picked up Clay Nowling, the officer dispatched to the scene, at the boat landing off State Route 65. 

Brown and Livingston drove Nowling back to West Bayou where he stripped down and got in the water.

“He waded, swam, flopped all the way to the dog. He almost had to be crawling in the mud,” said Brown. “Next he dug the dog free of the mud with his bare hands, and then helped the dog back to the boat by gently pulling him through the mud and shallow water. 

“Mel and I were amazed at Clay’s determination to save Bailey’s life,” said Brown.

The dog, a large 14-year-old golden retriever named Bailey, belongs to the John Richards family of Eastpoint, and they were waiting when the trio, plus dog, returned safely to the boat landing. “As it turned out Bailey had been missing for three days: they had all but given up hope to find him,” said Brown. “John Richards later said Bailey was OK and eating like a horse!

“The hero of the day was Clay Nowling,” said Brown. “He knew what he had to do and he just went right ahead and did it, without a word of complaint. All the way back to the boat ramp he consoled Bailey, patting him and talking to him. It was an impressive display of determination and caring. You have a fine young man on your team.”

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Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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