When Corey Quesinberry loaded himself into the canoe Thursday afternoon, he wasn’t out for a relaxing paddle down a waterway.
Quite the opposite.
Quesinberry, animal control officer and volunteer coordinator for the Surry County Animal Shelter, was on the job, and the fate of two puppies rested in his hands.
Animal control officials received a call from a Jenkinstown resident at around 1 p.m. Thursday alerting them to two puppies stranded on a rocky outcrop on the Fisher River.
“We received a call from a gentleman who found them,” Quesinberry said. “He has a place on the river, and when we arrived we could hear the puppies whining from across the river.”
At the location, the Fisher River was about 40 feet wide, with deep water moving “pretty fast,” according to the animal control officer.
“It was swift water,” he said.
Which led to a bit of a conundrum.
“My first thoughts were about how to get across the river,” Quesinberry said. “The water was too deep and moving too fast to wade it, so I wasn’t sure how we were going to be able to rescue the puppies.”
And he couldn’t get to the location from the opposite bank, either.
“Looking at where they were at, there was about a 70-foot rock bluff surrounding them and there was no way to get down there to them from the other side,” he said, noting that he has no idea how the pups ended up on the rocky outcrop.
While Quesinberry couldn’t remember the homeowner’s name who alerted them to the stranded pups, a canoe was luckily nearby.
“The gentleman who lived there had a canoe, so we decided the best thing to do was to canoe across the river and get up on the rocks to retrieve the puppies,” he said.
And that’s just what he did.
Braving winds, swift water and chilly temperatures, Quesinberry paddled across the river to rescue the stranded dogs.
“The whole process took about an hour,” he said. “The dogs were terrified. They were shaking and when I picked them up they curled up into little balls trying to get warm.”
And they showed their appreciation in a purely canine way.
“They were extremely glad to get off that rock,” Quesinberry said with a smile. “They licked my face and hands and were just overjoyed.”
But don’t think the puppies are going to end up as residents of the animal shelter.
“The gentleman who owned the home across the river actually kept them,” Quesinberry said of the two puppies he speculated were about six weeks old. “He’s going to be raising them himself.”
For the animal control officer, it was a happy outcome.
“That’s the reason I got into this business,” he said. “I love animals and don’t want to see anything bad happen to them.
“I truly believe that animal control is here to help both the animals and the community,” Quesinberry added. “I’m just glad those puppies are now in a warm, happy home.
“I’m going to go back and visit them in a couple of weeks to check on them and see how they’re growing.”
Reach Keith Strange at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1929.