Adam Shaw and his dog Rocky got more than they anticipated when they were invited to drop the ceremonial first puck at Friday night’s Oil Kings game.
The pair became local heroes earlier this week when they rescued two sisters who had fallen through the ice into the North Saskatchewan River near Rundle Park on Monday.
After receiving a hero’s welcome on the ice, Shaw and Rocky were given a surprise reunion with Krymzen, 10, and Samara, 9.
Shaw, who hadn’t seen the girls since he pulled them out of the freezing water, was visibly moved as the girls approached him, bearing cards of thanks and treats for Rocky.
"I was completely shocked," said the father of two.
"The last time I saw them they were so cold and scared," said Shaw. "It's just good to see them healthy and walking around."
For Shaw, the rescue — and the busy days that have followed — seem surreal.
"It seems like a movie or something. It’s hard to believe."
"I don’t know if I have quite processed it yet," he added. "[I’m] just really grateful and glad that I could help."
'He’s a hero to me and my sister'
The meeting was also emotional for Krymzen and Samara, who took a few minutes to overcome their initial shyness when faced with the man who had saved their lives.
"If it wasn’t for [him], my sister wouldn’t be here," said Krymzen, who was the first to be pulled from the water.
Rescuing Samara, who fell in first and had been pulled further downstream, proved to be more difficult. When he was unable to reach her — and had also fallen into the water once, himself — Shaw enlisted the help of Rocky, his eight-year-old husky-Labrador-retriever mix.
Shaw got Rocky to jump into the frigid water and swim out to Samara, who was able to grab the dog’s leash and tow the girl closer to the ice’s edge where Shaw was able to haul both Samara and Rocky out of the water.
"It was brave, incredible, and I really love him now," said Samara, speaking of the daring rescue.
"He’s a hero to me and my sister," she added.
He is also a hero to Miranda Wagner, Krymzen and Samara’s mother. She thinks of Shaw as an angel.
"The doctor said if [Samara] was in the water for two more minutes, she would have been dead," said Wagner, who was at home preparing Easter dinner while the girls were at the park with friends.
"I’m really thankful," she said Friday. "I’ll never be able to repay him, but he is forever in my heart."
Wagner said will be keeping Krymzen and Samara close to home for a while, but hopes Shaw will stay in touch.
"I [don’t] want to let go of him," she said. "He saved my kids."