CHICAGO — After Riley chased some geese into the Chicago River, triggering a rescue operation near the Damen Avenue Bridge Tuesday morning, the 10-year-old German shorthaired pointer apparently knew he was in big trouble.
Police, firefighters and animal control officers rushed to the scene and helped bring Riley to shore. The pooch began shaking, and someone pointed out that he must have been feeling chilly, said Riley's owner, Tim Weaver.
"I could tell by the way he was looking at me," said Weaver, 38, of Roscoe Village. "He's not cold, he knows he's in trouble."
Riley was out with another female German shorthaired pointer and their owners near their homes when the other dog noticed some geese, Weaver said.
Both dogs bolted after the birds, but rather than stop at the edge of the river, like the other dog did, Riley jumped right in.
A massive emergency response was called about 8:50 a.m., but crews soon rescued Riley near the Damen Avenue Bridge and returned him safely to Weaver, said Officer Jose Estrada, a Chicago Police spokesman.
"It looks like the dog was just running around being a dog, chasing geese," Estrada said.
The dog went for a swim down a lengthy stretch of the river, but Weaver and rescuers were able to eventually turn him around by gently throwing rocks toward the geese, which he then swam after as they turned back, Weaver said.
Riley's "ruff" morning included booster shots (since swimming in the river isn't generally considered too hygienic) and a very soapy bath, but he's otherwise "unfazed," Weaver said.
It's not the first time Riley has become a little overzealous in the face of a tempting bird.
"Years ago he actually chased around a bunch of ducks for three hours out in a pond," Weaver said, leading his owner to go retrieve him.
Weaver doesn't know if Riley has learned his lesson this time but says he'll likely be kept on a shorter leash for awhile.
"He'll probably be in a little timeout for a few weeks," Weaver said.