Have you heard the story about Roxy?
She is the 30-kilogram mastiff who recently fell down a 15-metre cliff and was stranded on a tiny ledge above the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean in Glace Bay, N.S.
The ordeal began about 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving when Roxy’s owner, Tracy Power, took her pet to pick cranberries with her boyfriend and his beagle-mix puppy, Pickles.
“Next thing you know, Roxy was over the cliff,” Power told SaltWire Network’s Sharon Montgomery-Dupe.
“She was down there screaming and barking.”
They could hear Roxy, but she was out of sight under an overhanging cliff.
They moved to an adjacent embankment and saw Roxy on the ledge.
“The tide was coming in, the sun was going down,” Power recalled. “The waves were rushing on the rocks and almost took her out a few times.”
A call to 911 brought firefighters in rescue boats from the Glace Bay department. Firefighters from the nearby communities of Albert Bridge and Dominion also came out to help.
But the swells kept getting larger. It was soon too risky for the boats to get close to Roxy.
Glace Bay fire Chief John Chant called in their technical rope rescue team and a team from New Victoria.
As they set up, a Dominion firefighter, in ice rescue gear and tethered to a boat, decided to swim to the dog.
He swam about 50 feet and was able to coax Roxy into the water, holding onto her as he swam to the Glace Bay water rescue boat.
By then, it was dark.
Power and her beau, waiting on the bank above with Chant, learned of Roxy’s rescue over the radio.
“They were ecstatic,” Chant said. “She gave me a big hug. He gave me a high-five. And they went down to the Glace Bay harbour to get reunited.”
Power could not praise the rescuers enough. Neither could Roxy.
“She was crying, very vocal, was totally ecstatic,” her owner said. “I think she kissed every one of the (firefighters) before getting off the boat. She was so happy. I think she was saying ‘Thank you’ to everybody.”
At least 30 firefighters from four fire departments took part in Operation Roxy.
Their efforts are a reminder to us all.
For one, firefighters should never be taken for granted. They are willing, at the drop of a fire hat, to run into a burning building or dive into the Atlantic, to risk their lives for you or your pet. The second reminder is about the value of teaming up and being willing to pivot to solve a problem.
On a holiday weekend, these firefighters dropped everything and worked together through challenges, like weather and darkness, to rescue Roxy.
It strikes us that Roxy's story, and the spirit of solidarity and collaboration it embodies, could be a morality tale for our time — one in which some Nova Scotians are tearing each other apart over an undersea resource. We could all use a bit more of that firefighter spirit and a lot less fuel on the fire.