Heavy rains hit Panama this week and as a result rivers and streams across the land swelled to breaking point. In the city of San Miguelito, 35-year-old Manuel Calderon was walking home with his dog.
Mr Calderon, who is a market trader, approached the River Sinai which had earlier that day burst its banks. Crossing at what he believed was the safest point he noticed his dog, Fulo, which was not a lead, head further down to cross over.
In what could only be a matter of seconds Fulo had lost his footing and was swept down into the torrent of floodwater. The current carried the dog fast away from safety and the clutches of passers-by.
Wasting no time, and without a thought of his own safety, Calderon dived into the water to save his dog. He too was forced downstream by the strength of the floodwater but somehow managed to grab his dog and bring him to the relative safety of the bank.
Fortunately, the water was not too deep and other residents began to join the rescue. Both Calderon and Fulo were eventually brought to safety.
Writes the Mail Online, Calderon told reporters, “I was focused on the dog. And thank God I managed to grab him, some metres later, I threw him onto the bank and got out some metres later.”
He admitted to not having thought about the possibility of endangering his own life.
“An animal, just for being an animal, does not deserve to be disregarded,” he added, “because it is a life after all. I ask you to take care of them because they also have feelings.”
According to the Mail, Hector Valdes, the Mayor of the city, revealed later that Calderon had joined the Department of Animal Welfare.
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