Firefighter rappelling down waterfall to rescue dog is captured on video

A Paterson city firefighter rappels down a waterfall
A Paterson, N.J., firefighter rappels down a waterfall to save a stray dog trapped on a ledge. (Photo: Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge)

Those who understand that dogs are man’s best friend would go to the ends of the Earth to save a pup in need.

Fire Capt. Scott Parkin of Paterson, N.J., was called to action when a stray dog, stranded on a ledge near the bottom of Great Falls on Sunday, was reported to 911. Parkin decided to strap in and rappel down to save him, and the daring rescue was captured on Facebook Live.

In a video streamed over Patterson Mayor Andre Sayegh’s Facebook, Parkin said, “My main concern was just getting down safely. … I really wasn’t worried about the ascent, because I knew all our equipment that my crew, Rescue 2, had set up prior to me going over the edge was rock solid.”

After a successful descent, which according to NBC went 75 feet, Parkin won over the stray, since named “Paterson,” by feeding him. Eventually the dog moved closer to the firefighter so he could be placed in a net and lifted to safety.

“I think once he realized what I was there for, he settled down,” Parkin said.

Stray dog Paterson
Stray dog Paterson after being rescued. (Photo: Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge via Facebook)

No one knows exactly how Paterson found his way to the ledge at the base of the waterfall, but one theory is the pit bull mix may have swum across to the cliff where the water was lower. John DeCando, Paterson’s chief animal control officer, said that the dog probably “would have drowned” due to heavy rain in the area.

The dog, despite a few bruises, is expected to make a full recovery, and is currently living at Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge in Oakland, N.J.

Fire Capt. Scott Parkin with Paterson
Fire Capt. Scott Parkin with Parkin, the dog he helped save. (Photo: Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge via Facebook)

This type of rescue may be in Parkin’s blood. In 1975, his father, who is now 95 years old, performed a similar rescue in the same area. “I’m kind of repeating family history,” Parkin told

Thomas Dayspring shared a photo on Facebook of Parkin’s father, Joe Sr., rescuing a dog, writing: “Some things never change — If there is need for a dog to be rescued from Passaic River — have no fear as a Parkin will appear!”

Joe Parkin Sr. rescuing a dog
Joe Parkin Sr. rescuing a dog 43 years prior to his son saving a stray dog in the same area. (Photo: Thomas Dayspring via Facebook.)

Parkin did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s requests for comment.

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