Man’s Best Friends Help Save Owner Stuck in Mud

Things were not looking good for a man who was stuck in the mud at the edge of the Potomac River near Brookmont Dam at the C&O Canal on Monday.

According to Pete Piringer, the spokesperson for Montgomery County Fire & Rescue, the man was playing fetch with his two dogs about 50 yards away from a towpath close to lots 6 and 10. He was in a secluded area that was out of sight from passersby, Piringer said.

At one point, the man got stuck in the mud and when he tried to get out, things only got worse.

As the man was stuck, Piringer said the two dogs ran around the towpath area wearing leashes and barking frantically. Eventually, two cyclists heard the barking.

WTOP reports that one of the cyclists was 63-year-old Steve Shollenberger of Damascus.

“It’s good the dogs came closer to the trail. That’s the nice part about it. That’s why we saw him,” Shollenberger told WTOP.

The cyclists walked toward the Potomac River and found the man with mud up to his knees. WTOP reports that Shollenberger went back to the towpath to call 911 and wait for a rescue team as the other cyclist waited with the man.

Eventually, MCFRS and swift water rescue teams came and were able to pull the man loose from the mud.

Piringer posted a video on his Twitter account on Monday, demonstrating technical rescue equipment that can be used to extricate an animal or person stuck in the mud.

Although the rescue teams didn’t have to use this equipment to save the man stuck in the mud, Piringer said that MCFRS has the equipment to perform complicated and difficult rescues.

After the man was freed from the mud, Piringer said he was taken evaluated by EMS in a nearby lot and refused to be taken to a hospital. Piringer said that the man was not injured.

According to WTOP, the man’s shoes were even recovered from the mud, which is unusual.

The man hasn’t been identified by local authorities, but WTOP reports he’s an 87-year-old man from Glen Echo.

Piringer was satisfied to see a happy ending to this story.

He tweeted, “This is a real cat’s meow & dog gone good stuff…..Who let the Dogs Out…..”

  • The two heroic dogs lap up some water after coming to the aid of their owner. (Photo courtesy of MCFRS)

  • The 87-year-old man had mud all the way up to his knees. (Photo courtesy of MCFRS)

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Deirdre Byrne

About Deirdre Byrne

Deirdre Byrne is a social media coordinator for Montgomery Community Media. She can be reached at or on twitter at @DeirdreByrneMCM.


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