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This I Believe… Jake McQuiggan


I believe that how you act in a crisis shows what kind of person you really are. In any crisis a person has a short time to react to the situation. A person must choose what they think is right or what will help them and keep them out of harms way. The decision that person makes defines who they are and where their morals stand.

Over the summer I worked as a lifeguard at Jordan Point Aquatic Club. Nothing crazy ever happened at the pool and there had never been any drownings or deaths. Me and another lifeguard were to work on July 4th, which is the worst night to work. My family and a few other families were at the pool but it was only around 15 people total. Since the pool was so empty, my boss gave the other lifeguard permission to leave for the night.

As any other night, the children were playing and adults were talking. Until one of my bosses friends pulled up to spend some time at the pool. She had an English bulldog with her and that was against the rules, but since it was July 4th, we let it slide. Her dog was white with black spots and had hazel eyes which looked like it had a mist over them. The woman told us that he was almost completely blind but he still was able to play with the kids.

After some time went by I decided to get in the pool because nobody else was and the kids were off playing with the dog. But when I got in the pool the kids wanted to come and play with me. We were playing in the deep end which is about 12 feet and everything was fine. The dog was at the edge of the pool and then without any warning he slipped in.

I got all kids away because I knew how dogs swim and I didn’t want his claws to hurt the kids while he was swimming. The parents hadn’t moved but they were all kind of startled that the dog had gotten in, except his owner. When I looked back at the dog he was struggling for air and started sinking to the bottom. I didn’t have the lifeguard buoy with me so I would have to get the dog out by myself.

I dove down and grabbed the dog around the waist and used my right arm and legs to lift us both. The dog itself was large and was about 100 lbs. Since he couldn’t see well he didn’t really know what was going on and couldn’t really help me get him to the wall. He stopped struggling so much and I was able to get him to the wall and his front paws on the edge. He didn’t have much strength but I helped push him out with my arms.

He survived with no injuries and coughed up very little water. The owned thanked me and said that bulldogs don’t have webs in their feet like other dogs which meant he couldn’t swim. I felt amazing about what I had done and what kind of person I was for saving a life even if it wasn’t human. I feel that my own personal experience in a crisis showed what kind of a person I am.

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  • J

    Jamar JohnsonNov 7, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    As the story went on, I was hoping you had to give mouth to mouth to the dog haha. I was a little disappointed that you didn’t but atleast the dog was safe. You saving that dog’s life means you would do that for a human which is why you became a lifeguard in the first place. It’s in the name. Hopefully this situation gave you good training for a human.

  • J

    Joseph P.Nov 7, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    It is always great to hear stories about people saving animals’ lives and vice versa. It is also good to know that our lifeguards are capable at performing their jobs calmly under pressure, and not just some kids looking for summer jobs. Congratulations and good read.

  • M

    Malikah WIlliamsOct 29, 2010 at 6:48 am

    This is truly an amazing story. I also believe that how one reacts in a crisis shows how they really are. From this article, I can tell you are very passionate about what you do.

  • R

    Rachel WaymackOct 29, 2010 at 6:46 am

    I think that your response to this crisis shows that one you really deserve to be a lifeguard and two that you can think clearly and act quickly in a time of crisis.

  • J

    Jessica TaylorOct 28, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    I am an animal lover so I think it’s really amazing that you saved this dog’s life. Your response to the crisis was great. You handled the situation well. Your instincts took over and you knew what to do, and as a result no one was hurt.

  • D

    Devan AndrewsOct 28, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    Such bravery in that line of work may be considered expected of you, but to actually perform such a feat by yourself and to handle it with such calmness really does show strength in character. Surely someone with a hotter head would have panicked, and I’m glad to see that the dog was in such capable hands that night.

  • R

    Raya GirardOct 26, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    I am glad that in a crisis you would want to save the life of an animal.I love to watch the reality shows where people save animals. it is especially heart warming to watch animals save people or help each other. I bet the owner of that bull dog thinks of it as more a member of the family so really you also saved a person from feeling grief.