CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — Emergency responders and city workers rescued a loose dog that jumped a guardrail down to the riverbank after being hit by a car in St. Albans on Friday.

Kevin Pennington, Park Superintendent for the St. Albans Parks and Recreation Department, said he was leaving city hall when he saw people running across U.S. Route 60 and looking and jumping over the guardrail.

Pennington said he did not know what was going on, so he stopped his truck to check the situation out. Another city employee stopped and joined Pennington, helping him block the slow lane with their trucks to ensure the safety of the people on the side of the road.

The people told Pennington that a dog had gotten loose from a nearby hair salon and was hit by a car. They said the dog then jumped over a guardrail separating Route 60 from a ledge that dropped to the bank of the Kanawha River.

“Well, the guardrail goes straight down to the river, and there’s underbrush and everything. You couldn’t see,” Pennington said.

Pennington called workers from his department as well as the St. Albans Fire Department and St. Albans Police Department. Crews worked for over 20 minutes to find the dog, bringing out a fire department boat and searching the area. Finally, they spotted the dog on the riverbank.

“It was right by the river, the water itself,” Pennington said. “We brought the fire department boat over because it’s probably a 50-foot-steep embankment that we would’ve had to carry the dog out. And so, we got the dog onto the boat, and they took it over to Roadside Park, and the owner was over there to meet the puppy as it was coming out the water.”

Pennington said the dog seemed fine, and that the owner planned to take the dog to the veterinarian to make sure. There was a little blood on the dog’s face, but Pennington said the injuries only looked minor. He also said the dog was a bit spooked around the rescue crews before being reunited with its owner.

“The dog was scared when it was around us, but once it got near the owner, it was excited and licking them in the face and everything else,” Pennington said. “So I assume that the dog is fine.”

Pennington, a dog owner himself, said he wanted to help because he understands dogs are family. Emotions ran high during the rescue, and Pennington and other rescuers empathized with people’s feelings during the situation.

“There was a lot of crying going on because you couldn’t locate the dog,” Pennington said. “I mean, it’s just a like a small child. I’ve had dogs all my life, and it’s a part of your family.”

Pennington said the owner was terrified throughout the situation but was ecstatic once she was reunited with her beloved fur baby. All in all, the situation was a happy reunion, one Pennington calls a “great experience.” Pennington also gave a shoutout to the police and fire departments for their assistance with the rescue.

“My guys did a great job. The fire department and police department did a great job. They all understand that yes, they’re dogs, but dogs are a part of our family.”

Kevin Pennington, Park Superintendent for the St. Albans Parks and Recreation Department