Brave Teenage Boy, A Good Swimmer, Saves Dog From Drowning

John Koobatian, 13 years old, of Madison, with family and friends standing by, doesn't hesitate to come to the rescue when Casey, an elderly black lab, gets confused, starts to swim away from shore, then sinks.


On July 5, John Koobatian, 13, of Madison, was visiting Chatfield Hollow with his friends and family. The same day, Casey, an elderly 15-year-old black lab was also visiting Chatfield Hollow, in nearby Killingworth, CT, with her owner.

Koobatian's mom, Nadine Koobatian, says Casey went for a swim in the pond and became disoriented.

"In a frantic attempt to reach shore, she misjudged and instead made her way out to the center of the pond. Unable to swim further, she frantically thrashed and then succumbed to the water," Nadine Koobatian says. "John, watching with his family and friends from the shore, realized that Casey was drowning and her owner was not able to swim out to rescue her.  Without hesitation, John swam out to rescue Casey."

John's mom sent us a picture of John, comforting Casey after he brought her back to land. "She was treated at Killingworth Veterinary Hospital and released in good condition," Nadine Koobatian said.

In addition to having plenty of backup during the rescue attempt, since his family and friends were nearby, John's mom tells us that John has the right background for this kind of rescue attempt.

"John is a strong swimmer and avid sailer who has spent most of the summer either on or in the water.  We were also prepared to go in after John if we needed to," she said. "The dog's owner appeared to be in his mid-70s.  He was clearly distraught and there was no way he could have gone in. John definitely saved the dog's life. We are very proud of him."

And we are too.

Congratulations John, on a good deed well done.

Andree Mowen July 09, 2012 at 09:16 PM
What a wonderful story and heart-warming photo! John Koobatian is a hero in every sense of the word! You have made us all very proud! Casey and his owner have you to thank for averting what could have been a very sad ending to their day!
Matt July 09, 2012 at 09:23 PM
Great job! Diving in to rescue a drowning animal (or person) is risky. It requires you be strong and really on top of your game. If not, you can easily become a second victim. Lots of people wouldn't have done this and would simply watch from shore, saying "oh, that's too bad." Clearly he was on top of his game and would have done the same for a person in a heartbeat I'm sure. Well done! John, when you turn 15, you should consider joining the volunteer fire department! http://nmvfc.org/explorers/
Christopher Jennings Penders July 10, 2012 at 12:06 AM
Wow!!! That's AWESOME!! Quick thinking on John's part. How amazing is that!?
Mildred Oshea July 10, 2012 at 09:55 AM
Thank you John! I don' know you but must say that your actions say a lot about you and the type of person you are. Please don't ever change when it comes to doing the right thing and helping others who are too weak to help themselves. Don't ever forget that feeling of compassion as well as self worth and accomplishment. The world would be a better place with more people like you. Wishing you all the best and success in life. Thanks again.
DYAN SALEMI July 10, 2012 at 11:58 AM
So nice to read this story..A wonderful young man we can all be proud of..Thanks Pem for good news!!!! Dyan
Cathy Marsh July 10, 2012 at 12:13 PM
What a Wonderful story!!! Congratulations! You were meant to be at Chatfield on that Day!
Ellie Gillespie July 10, 2012 at 01:28 PM
Yea John!! great job!
Kristin Wildermann July 10, 2012 at 02:19 PM
Great job John! Nadine- you guys must be so proud!
Kip Karter July 10, 2012 at 04:30 PM
Bravo John. Your family must be bursting with pride. You are a hero.
Fay Abrahamsson (Editor) July 10, 2012 at 05:26 PM
What a wonderful story with a happy ending! It brings tears to my eyes to think of the horrible outcome that could have happened if you had not been there John! From all the pet lovers out there - I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Ronald DeRosa (Editor) July 10, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Awesome job John! Such a nice story to read. - RD, associate regional editor for Patch
Phoebe Leroux July 10, 2012 at 05:30 PM
Well done!!!
william van nooy July 10, 2012 at 05:31 PM
<HE> that tels all
Phoebe Leroux July 10, 2012 at 05:31 PM
Well done!!!
william van nooy July 10, 2012 at 05:34 PM
< He> makes my day, your better than any body I know tops !
Van Robert Roxbrough July 10, 2012 at 06:15 PM
I am Casey's owner and the individual who couldn't reach her from the other side of the pond. She is the whole family's dog, particularly my youngest son, Scott. If it wasn't for John, she wouldn't be here today and we are forever grateful to him and his mother who lifted Casey into my car from the bank. She has recovered completely from her near disaster, her tests are good, but she is not eating except for force feeding. We're hopeful her desire to eat will come back. She is 14 years and 7 months and was a crack swimmer in her prime. John is Casey's hero and again we are forever grateful.
Martha July 10, 2012 at 07:12 PM
I'm thrilled John saved Casey, God bless him. Please try to think of Casey's favorite foods and offer her small bites.. chicken, steak, hamburger..eggs with cheese?? Thinking of my dogs favorites here. Fragrant foods to make her a little hungry. I imagine she's exhausted from it all, too tired to eat. But rest and her favorites should revive her zest.. I'll say a prayer for her, God will help.
Van Robert Roxbrough July 10, 2012 at 09:32 PM
Thank you Martha for your kind advice and concern about Casey, and your food recommendations. I would also think she'd still be exhausted too and slow to enjoy food after that ordeal. About 2PM today she ate some crusts of whole wheat bread. She alway liked bread. In fact she'd put those long front legs on the table and steal some, given half the chance. It was amusing to me-maybe not all. Anyway, we'll try some hamburger tonight and thank you!
Martha July 10, 2012 at 10:12 PM
Oh you're so welcome!! I'm so happy she ate the crusts of whole wheat bread, that's a wonderful sign she's beginning to get some strength back. Perhaps you can give her more with the hamburger tonight, and leave a crust for her on the table so she steal it when she's up and walking!!! If you show it to her and leave a little bit showing it may entice her to get stronger... She may have lost some weight, so trying to feed her a few bites every couple of hours is a good idea. My dog loves the broth from boiled chicken, especially enjoys it chilled on hot days, just a thought to keep Casey hydrated. I'm so happy she ate a bit today. I had a black lab take a whole loaf of bread off the kitchen table!! Never even saw a crumb on the floor. Too cute. Thank you for the update, I prayed real hard for Casey today and will continue to do so.
Carolyn Rotermund July 11, 2012 at 01:54 AM
What a fantastic, heart-warming story! John, you are a hero!!!
Fay Abrahamsson (Editor) July 11, 2012 at 02:04 AM
My thoughts and prayers are with Casey hoping she will have a full recovery from her incredible ordeal. I can only hope that my two labs live to be 14 years and 7 months old. Does Casey like cheese? Most doggies do. Maybe a little bit of cheddar on some bread would help bring back her appetite. :) I'm thinking of you Casey!!
guangzhi July 11, 2012 at 12:19 PM
What a wonderful and heart-warming story! What a wonderful boy!
Mary Martin July 17, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Good job! Jumping in to rescue a drowning animal requires you be on top of your game and really strong. Some people would not have done anything other than simply watching from bank, saying (That's too bad) John, when you turn 14, you should consider joining the Madison Police Explorers http://www.madisonct.org/Police_Dept/explorers.htm
JenniferT September 04, 2012 at 09:18 PM
What a great story to read. Thank you Mr. Koobatian for making this story possible, and Mr. Roxbrough, I appreciate the updates on Casey. I have a bread-hound here too. He makes for entertaining stories. I hope Casey continues to improve. :-)


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