By Paul Gritton
As he prepared to end his day of duty, Soda Springs Police Lt. Jon Bunderson heard a call over his radio for help on the outskirts of Soda Springs. Without hesitation he responded to the call, which involved a man and dog in the river unable to get out.
On the west edge of Soda Springs the Bear River crosses under a county road making for a popular access point to the river as it enters Alexander Reservoir.
Robert Gentry and his wife took their dog to the river for a swim near the bridge during the early afternoon heat. The dog, a black lab swam out to the center of the river and then drifted downstream and under the bridge. The dog began struggling against the strong current and was not able to return to shore. Gentry tried to rescue the dog but was unsuccessful due to the depth and speed of the river.
As authorities responded, Gentry made it back to shore, however his black lab was still in the river.
Lt. Bunderson arrived on scene with other authorities and quickly sized the situation up. Bunderson shed his gun belt, ballistic vest and without hesitation dove in to save the struggling dog.
After getting a rope dropped down to him from rescuers on the bridge, Bunderson slowly made his way to the center of the river and to the faltering canine.
Once to the dog, Lt. Bunderson signaled the other rescuers to pull him and the dog to shore. Once on shore the both Gentry and his wife seemed elated that their pet had been returned to them in good condition.
Bunderson is a former Police K9 handler and is the owner of Skyline Racing Kennels and races a large team of sled dogs all over the northwest. Bunderson spends lots of time with Man's best friend but today he was a dog's best friend.