Terrifying Experience-Be Careful Letting Your Dog Off Leash


Mar 9, 2006
Charlottesville, VA
I had the most terrifying experience of my life yesterday. It was a nice day yesterday in Virginia so I decided to take Darwin (my beagle) to the dog park. I let him run inside the fenced in area for about 20 minutes, and since I saw so many other owners doing it, I decided to let Darwin off-leash on the beautiful nature trails. I'd done this before, and since I was carrying a baggie of treats in my purse I thought it would be good practice for him in case he ever got off-leash on accident. He would know to come to me when I called.

He did great on the trails! He would run ahead of me for a bit sniffing, and when I'd call his name, he'd trot back to me, and I'd make him sit and then give him a treat.

About 30 minutes into our walk we came across 2 golden retrievers and their owners. Darwin bounced ahead with the dogs, following them and being very well behaved.

Well, I guess the goldies knew the trails really well because they veered right at one point, and Darwin didn't--since it was really muddy (we had ice last week + warm weather=slippery slippery mud), he couldn't stop himself and FELL 5 FT INTO THE WATER.

I heard him yelp, and went running after him. I couldn't see him at first, there were tons of branches in the way, but when I could finally look down, my poor dog looked terrified. He was trying to grip on to the side, but the mud wouldn't let him pull himself up, and the water was deeper than he was tall.

I honestly thought he was going to drown. The look on his face was so horrible. So I did the only thing I could---I jumped in after him. I threw my purse to one of the dog owners before I jumped in, and made the plunge. It was soooo cold. It was the worst feeling of my life. I've never been so scared.

After I got him in my arms (the water was up to my chest), the guy holding my bag tried to pull Darwin up, and he fell in (with my purse). It took two other men to pull all three of us out of the water.

All of my stuff that was in the bag is destroyed-including a new lomography camera (i'm so sad I lost a roll of film with some awesome pictures on it) & the new iphone (I thought I was being a good girl, not walking the nature trails without a way to reach someone if I got in trouble) I just bought on Friday, but it really is a small price to pay. I'm so happy that Darwin and I made it out of the whole situation alive. I have a cracked rib, and my arms are really painful-they feel like I've been working out for 15 hours straight:tdown:

I just wanted to tell you guys what happened so that people would remember to be really careful on trails they don't know. I'm shocked at how fast I found myself in a really dangerous situation.


I run with scissors
Apr 22, 2006
Long and Low Farms
OMG this made my heart race. Such a simple thing, letting your dog off the leash, turns out like this. I am so glad you are ok, and so is Darwin.


Ma to the d@mn D-E-A
Jan 27, 2007
Phoenix, AZ
Oh wow, I am SO SORRY you had to go through that! What a horrible experience, I can picture the whole terrifying event in my head, not pretty! Im sorry about your stuff and your rib:Push:, but Im happy to hear both you and Darwin are (or WILL be) OK.

Feel better soon!


Jul 4, 2007
At the Beauty Bar
OMG! what a horrible experience! I am so sorry about your cracked rib and your destroyed belongings but I am so glad that you and Darwin are ok! I can picture his terrified face in my mind and I would have jumped too! Feel better soon!:hugs:


crazy for chalcedony
Apr 23, 2006
i am so glad both you and darwin made it out safely!!! really, it sounds like a horrifying experience.


in an orange abyss
Nov 24, 2008
OMG! What an incredibly harrowing experience! I'm so sorry about all of your stuff that was ruined (that sincerely does suck), but I'm so happy you & Darwin are safe. Hope your rib heals quickly!


haha no.
Aug 2, 2007
I am so sorry that happened to you! My heart started racing as i was reading the story.

I'm glad that you and your furbaby are safe, i hope you feel better soon!
Mar 24, 2007
- NyC -
OMG! What a horrible experience! felt so scare for you and your pup. Glad everyone is safe.

We have a trail park area around me and we visit there often as well but I always stay away from the small ponds that are throughout the trails.


Aug 30, 2008
OMG! what a horrible experience! I am so sorry about your cracked rib and your destroyed belongings but I am so glad that you and Darwin are ok! I can picture his terrified face in my mind and I would have jumped too! Feel better soon!:hugs:
Ditto! ^^ How horrifying. Please be careful with that rib - they take SO long to heal. Ugh! But what a great mommy you are!


My baby, Bellis
Aug 8, 2006
WOW! How horrible you must still be shaking. You are lucky there were other people there too. Glad everyone is okay.


Jul 10, 2008
OMG how scary!! You're a good dog parent for acting so quickly, and you were lucky there were other people there to help as well. It stinks about your purse and everything in it, but I'm glad you are both going to be fine!

When we are at any park, we never let Bradley off the leash. He is a basset and they will follow their nose anywhere, and it is just too risky IMHO. We also had a bad experience a few weeks ago (which I posted about on this forum) where 2 other unleashed dogs attacked him in the park by our house. Your post is just another good reminder that, as pet owners, we really need to be mindful of our surroundings and realize how quickly things can spiral out of control.

And yes, I can attest, those ribs do take a while to heal!
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Aug 11, 2006
OMG that story really scared me. You're awesome for jumping in after your dog. Honestly, I wouldn't know what to do! You can get a new phone if you insured it but not sure if you can try to get the camera replaced. Glad you and your dog are safe though.


Feb 1, 2006
Jill!!! OMG! That is way scary. Im so glad you and Darwin are ok. I would have freaked out too. WOW, I hope you both are on the mend. xx