It was an emotional reunion for Adam Shaw and his dog Rocky, when they unexpectedly came face-to-face with the two girls they rescued from the frigid North Saskatchewan River days earlier.
Shaw and Rocky were invited to drop the ceremonial puck at an Oil Kings' game on Friday, to mark the pair's heroic efforts the previous weekend.
The Edmonton resident and his dog were treated to a hero's welcome during the puck-drop but the rescuers' emotions reached fevered highs when Krymzen and Samara Sunshine, the two girls they rescued from the freezing river and who were waiting for the pair off-ice, surprised the two with hugs, cards and heart-felt gratitude.
It was the first time the four had seen each other since Shaw and Rocky worked together two pull the 10- and nine-year-old from the river, CTV Edmonton reported.
“I saw some tears there so I was trying to be tough and hold some back, but it's great. That was awesome,” Shaw told CTV.
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The days that followed the news of the rescue seem surreal, like a movie, Shaw told CBC Edmonton.
"The last time I saw them they were so cold and scared.. it's just good to see them healthy and walking around," the father of two said.
Krymzen said if it wasn't for Shaw, her sister wouldn't be here today, while Samara said, “it was brave, incredible, and I really love him now.
“He’s a hero to me and my sister,” she added.
Shaw was out for a walk along the river with his wife last weekend when he noticed a girl in the water and her sister trying to rescue her.
By the time he'd reached them, they were both in the water. Shaw managed to get Krymzen out of the river, after falling in himself.
But Samara was floating down river, he recalled at a fire hall after the rescue.
Rocky swam out to Samara, who was disappearing under water. The girl was able to hold on to Rocky’s leash allowing the dog to pull her out of the water.
"I think he knew something out of the ordinary was going on," said Shaw of Rocky.
"After it all happened, we were sitting on the shore and he's a pretty active dog, he's usually running around and stuff, but he came and sat down beside me and beside the girl and he didn't move," Shaw said.
The two girls spent the night in hospital but were uninjured.