Dog saves the day

Matt Clark and Matt Clark

A four-legged lifeguard rescued a local girl from deep water last month.

Sara Boise, 7, her sister Kayla, 9, and their friend Ashley were swimming, just like they always do, at the Portage Quarry Recreation Club, Saturday, June 12.

The three were playing with Sugar Cane, a 10-month-old Labrador retriever, in the shallow beach area of the quarry.

Usually swimmers keep away from the rope that separates the beach area from the 300-foot deep scuba diving area.

When Kayla and Ashley began swimming to a raft near the dividing rope, Sara followed suit. When the girls swam back to shore, Sara stayed out.

“I slipped on a rock,” Sara said, referring to what brought her head under the deep water.

Her mother, Jill Boise, was nearby.

“She didn’t realize that when she got to the rope part that it was going to drop,” Jill said. “She went under, and she was obviously struggling, because she wasn’t expecting that.”

Sugar Cane, who was practically raised by children, immediately saw the signs of distress.

“Well, he came out, and I grabbed onto his collar,” Sara said.

Kayla and Ashley ran to Jill, who was talking with Jeff Rice, the owner of the quarry and the dog.

“The kids came up and were saying ‘Sugar Cane saved Sara from the water,'” Rice said. “I thought it was a fluke or some thing, that maybe they were just playing in the water. But then some adults confirmed it, so apparently it’s true.”

Rice bought Sugar Cane from East Hill Labradors in Howell, Mich.

Labradors, known for their skill and strength in the water, are a favorite among hunters and fishermen alike.

Sara likes Sugar Cane too.

“I like her. She’s a nice dog and she’s good to play with,” she said.

Sugar Cane has a sister, Marshmallow, a Labrador show dog.

The Portage Quarry Recreation Club Inc. has several scuba diving services, a beach area for swimmers, a camp ground, 3 volleyball courts, and more. It is located one mile south of Bowling Green on State Route 25.