Crews perform a dramatic rescue of a man and a dog in a Fraser Valley flood

Jordan Jongema and Bowser, a 120-pound Bernese Mountain Dog, were rescued earlier this week after floodwaters broke into his home and left the couple helpless.

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Come devil or high water, a man’s best friend will stay by his side.

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Jordan Jongema finally has a chance to breathe after he and Bowser, a 120-pound bern monthling, were rescued earlier this week after floodwaters broke into his home and left Jongema and Bowser helpless.

“Those 10 hours were easily the most horrible times I’ve ever experienced in my life,” Jongema wrote in a Facebook post Wednesday morning detailing the suffering that unfolded Monday evening and in the early hours of Tuesday.

Jongema collected supplies and was preparing to leave his Yarrow home on Monday evening when he noticed water starting to rise.

“I heard robbers surrounded Yarrow to empty houses, so I’m ashamed to stay just a few minutes too long to protect the place,” he wrote.

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As Jongema began to pull away from the driveway, a “massive wave of water began to flow” over the road and into his forecourt. Fearing that the debris-filled water would overturn his car and be deadly for him and Bowser, he turned around and decided to stay inside his home.

Jongema described seeing the water fill the home with another foot of water every two hours.

“When it was midnight, I waded through the kitchen, swimming in the yard to my best, trying to find any floating appliances,” he wrote. “Black and icy water for hours.”

At 1 a.m., the water was up to Jongema’s knees. He said uncertainty about how to drive Bowser onto the roof of his home and his phone battery dying around 2 a.m. Tuesday left him “emotionally slaughtered.”

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“The fear of the pump station breaking and the Fraser River flowing through made me want to die. Bows and I lay on my bed with the water half an inch from covering it, ”he wrote, adding that he feared the whole house would be underwater by morning.

Around 3:30 am, Jongema said he heard a boat nearby and he screamed through the window, flashed a flashlight and tried to attract their attention. As the rescuers approached the home, Jongema said he threw Bowser up through a window and crawled out onto the raft itself.

After sailing back to dry land a few miles away, Jongema and Bowser were driven to a safe landing site.

On Thursday morning, Jongema told Postmedia that he had made plans to stay north in the meantime.

During a briefing with emergency officials on Thursday morning, Abbotsford Fire Chief Darren Lee shared the good news about Jongema and Bowser being rescued.

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“I think it was Coquitlam Fire or Coquitlam SAR, in fact, went and got that dog right near the end of the (rescue) queue. He’s a service dog and so the guy was over the moon.”

Lee said he had been sent photos of the rescue crew of the Bernese Mountain Dog riding in an Abbotsford fire truck on their way to safety.

“So it was really cool that they were able to get that out. That was good customer service, definitely worth the risk, ”Lee said.

“They evaluated what was going on and they felt it was low risk and so they decided to go for it and reunite those two.”

At Thursday’s briefing, officials said 11 people were rescued overnight, while 40 farmers remained in the eastern part of the Sumas Prairie taking care of their belongings and livestock.

“We’re not coming out of this at all,” Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun said.

There are still no totals on how many animals were lost due to the flood at present, although the damage to livestock, property and infrastructure is expected to reach the hundreds of millions of dollars, not including the reconstruction of the dam.

sip@postmedia.com
twitter.com/stephanie_ip

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