Jesus Villanueva was working Wednesday when he heard a disturbance along the Roza irrigation canal. A woman and her husband were trying to save their two dogs from being swept away in the current. The dogs couldn’t climb up the steep concrete sides of the canal.
A Yakima sheriff’s deputy had a rope but was having no luck. It took quick thinking Villanueva just one lasso for each dog to bring them ashore.
Despite signs warning folks to stay out of the canal, Deats said she has let her dogs, Fawn and Nia, off their leash before without any problems. But when they decided to take a swim they were swept away.
Matt Deats climbed down a canal ladder, his body half submerged in the water, and reached out to grab one of the dogs. He barely touched a collar as it passed by.
Fawn, a Labrador mix, seemed to be keeping her head above water. Nia, an Australian shepherd mix, was struggling, Matt Deats said.
“I was trying to figure out a safe way to try and jump in and grab them myself,” he said. “You feel hopeless — you don’t know what to do, how to handle it.”
“I was amazed,” Noya Deats said. “He just kind of came out of nowhere. It was amazing how fast he lassoed them.”
Villanueva was equally amazed. He said he learned to lasso in Jalisco, Mexico, where he worked on a cattle ranch, but it had been 30 years since he had roped anything.