Los Angeles Fire Department

‘Lucky,' Dog Rescued From Rushing LA River During Storm, Finds Forever Home

'He is my best friend and he's made my house a home.'

Two years after he was saved from the raging Los Angeles River on one stormy January day, the pup -- appropriately named "Lucky" -- was adopted days after the dramatic aerial rescue and has settled into his new forever home.

On Jan. 31, 2015, Rachel Dalby stopped her car to take a look at the unusual amount of water and debris gushing along the LA River.

"There was a rhythm to the movement of one of the objects in the water that caught my attention," Dalby said.

It was a dog, and it was obvious he was drowning.

"He was struggling to stay afloat and his eyes were darting in all directions and he was petrified," Dalby recalled. "It was obvious he was in fear for his life."

She called 911 immediately.

"Within seconds we had another call from another person," said LA Fire spokesman Erik Scott. "Sure enough -- we have a dog and they are barely able to keep their head above water."

An LA Fire Search and Rescue team responded. They lowered paramedic John Terrusa close enough to pluck the frightened dog out of the water.

"In those moments when I saw Lucky straining for his life in the LA River, I just knew he was going to be my dog," Dalby said.

Within days, she adopted him. Lucky was her first dog.

And now two years later, the 11-year-old Welsh corgi is living the good life -- because Dalby cared enough to stop and call for help, and the Los Angeles Fire Department was there to answer.

"I was blown away that our city would step foward in that way and respond so quickly and really risk their lives in an effort to save Lucky's," Dalby said.

"It wasn't just a dog to me. He is my best friend and he's made my house a home. I have a family now with him and I couldn't imagine my life without him."

Every year, 7.6 million animals end up in shelters nationwide — and only 2.7 million are adopted, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Join NBC4, Telemundo 52 and the more than 60 shelters and animal rescue organizations participating this year. For more information, visit http://nbcla.com/cleartheshelters.

More than 53,000 pets were adopted through the 2016 Clear the Shelters campaign, a nationwide push to place deserving animals in forever homes. Join the conversation on social media using #ClearTheShelters.

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