Would you do anything to save your pet? Would you risk your own life for your dog? That was the question on the minds of Al Trovinger and his wife when their beloved dog fell from a bridge. It only took the couple a millisecond to realize that they would absolutely jump off a bridge to make sure the pup didn’t drown.
13. An Accident
This inspiring story starts in July of 2018 when Al Trovinger, his wife, and their three-year old dog River were headed toward Mobile Alabama. As they drove over the Jubilee Parkway Bridge, traffic came to a halt. There had been a serious accident up ahead and traffic was at a dead stop. Thirty minutes later, the car hadn’t moved an inch.
12. Jubilee Parkway
The Jubilee Parkway is a pair of parallel concrete viaduct bridges that carry Interstate 10 across Mobile Bay from the George Wallace Tunnel on Blakeley Island in Mobile, Alabama eastbound to Spanish Fort/Daphne, Alabama. Over the years there have been some serious accidents there, usually caused by fog, ice, or heavy rain conditions. But on this day it was clear.
11. Time for a Walk
Like all dogs, River needs to take a potty break at regular intervals. Once she started to get anxious, Trovinger did something he had done hundreds of times before: put the dog on her leash and took her on a quick walk. What Trovinger didn’t know was that the walk would end in disaster – and near heartbreak.
As Trovinger and River moved toward the side of the bridge, the dog got out of sorts. Maybe it was all the stopped cars. Maybe it was the unusual setting. Maybe it was all the agitated people. Whatever it was, it made River get hyperactive. She jumped toward the concrete barrier on the side of the bridge. That’s when it happened.
9. Leash Breaks
Despite the many times that the leash had held River back, this time she was not so lucky. When she jumped, the leash suddenly snapped. The dog immediately fell off the side of the bridge. She quickly fell, plunging into the cold water below. The Trovingers were in a panic at the sight of their beloved dog falling.
8. Into Mobile Bay
The dog landed in Mobile Bay and tried to swim. Although she wasn’t far from shore, the currents were strong, and the dog was in shock. She struggled to swim and became scared. People on the bridge jumped out of their cars in disbelief at the situation. They were desperate to help, but didn’t know how. That’s when Trovinger made a decision.
7. A Sudden Decision
Trovinger could either stay on the bridge and watch River drown, or risk his own life to make sure that didn’t happen. Trovinger knew right away which option he would choose. Taking a deep breath, he jumped off the side of the bridge without saying a word. “There was nothing else we could do. She was either going to drown or someone was going to jump off and get her, so I jumped off,” Trovinger told FOX 10.
When Trovinger hit the water, the dog immediately knew her dad was there to see her. She excitedly swam toward him, trying to climb up on him in relief. The added weight made it harder for Trovinger to swim, but help was on the way from an unexpected place. Another Good Samaritan had watched the entire event.
5. A Good Samaritan
One of the people on the bridge had witnessed the entire incident. Thinking fast, he knew he had a dog life jacket in his car. He threw the life jacket over the bridge in the hope that it would reach Trovinger. Although it was just a bit too small for River, it was perfect for Trovinger to for extra buoyancy.
The people on the bridge were terrified as they watched Trovinger struggle with the life jacket. Many worried that he wouldn’t be able to cross the river, especially after falling such a great distance. Trovinger had other ideas. “I felt confident that I could swim. I could see the distance and I knew I could swim the distance.”
3. Sweet Relief
After her dad landed in the water, River’s mood changed completely. No longer scared, she relaxed while he helped them both swim toward a boat launch that was nearby. They swam as quickly as they could. “For the first couple minutes it was tough, but once I kind of got the right stroke and she was getting a little calmer, it was fine,” Trovinger said.
Thankfully someone had already called 911. By the time the two reached the boat launch, paramedics were already on the scene ready to help. They climbed out of the water and were checked out by the medics. Improbably, both man and dog had made it through jumping off a bridge without any injuries!
1. Homeward Bound
After paramedics released them to go, River and the Trovingers headed home at last. When a reporter interviewed Trovinger, she asked whether he would make the same choice for River if something like this happened again. He didn’t hesitate at all. Of course he would leap off a bridge for his dog. “She’s a good girl,” he said. “I love her.”