LORAIN, Ohio (WJW) – There is a long-held belief at Lorain’s St. Anthony of Padua Church in the Catholic tradition that a prayer to St. Anthony will help find anything that has been lost.

On Wednesday, a one-year-old bulldog named Diesel was lost along the Lake Erie shoreline behind St. Anthony after climbing over a snow drift to escape from his owner’s fenced-in backyard.

A witness reported seeing Diesel running along the shoreline and became concerned when she saw him tumble into the water.

“She pulled the dog out the first time and then he took off running down the edge of the lake, and then we responded to go find him,” Lorain firefighter Jason Bender said.

After a team of firefighters arrived at the lakefront, they spotted Diesel running along the shore behind St. Anthony.

“He was running away from us, and then he ended up falling off the break wall about ten feet down into the water,” said Bender.

Firefighters knew they had to move fast to save Diesel.

“He was getting ready to give up, he was rolling on his belly, spitting out water and stuff, so I think maybe he had another minute or two before he would have been done. I wanted to jump in, to be honest, which would have been a terrible idea. It would have made the situation much worse,” said Bender.

As Diesel struggled in the water, one of the firefighters used a hook attached to a pole to latch onto his collar and then lifted the dog into Bender’s arms.

After Diesel was checked out by a veterinarian, he was reunited with his owners, who had been frantically searching for their puppy.

“When a bad call turns good, it’s always a good thing, especially returning the dog to the owners and everything, seeing how happy everybody could be,” said Bender.  

The owners of the dog told his rescuers that Diesel was familiar with the Lake Erie shoreline because they take him for walks there, but he had never shown any interest in going into the water.

For Bender and his fellow firefighters, the rescue is a reminder of why they decided to join the fire service.

“The cliché answer would be ‘we’re doing our job,’ but it was one of those good days, you know? It just feels good to do something and bring the dog back to the family,” he said.