Keeping his priorities straight

If, as the saying goes, a dog is man's best friend, does it follow that the opposite is also true? If what happened last Monday in northern West Virginia is any indication, the answer must be "yes." Randy Earl decided to go fishing on Mason Lake in his boat that day and to take Lacy, his pet spaniel, along for company. The air and water temperatures were both a chilly 50 degrees F., but the state Division of Natural Resources happened to be stocking the lake for the coming trout season. All was going well until Randy's 12-foot craft capsized, dumping him and Lacy into the water too far from shore to swim to safety. His first instinct: find the dog, push her on top of the overturned boat, and keep her still. Fortunately for them, someone else had witnessed the mishap and called the police for help. As Randy clung to the boat, a state trooper arrived and paddled out to the scene in a kayak. The shivering angler had one request: "Please take care of my dog first." So the trooper maneuvered Lacy into what little space was left in the kayak, tossed Randy a backup life jacket, and, with effort, towed him to shore. As a precaution, the angler was taken to a local hospital for observation but was released a few hours later. As for Lacy, Randy told reporters for the Dominion Post newspaper in nearby Morgantown that he and his wife think of her as "like a child to us."

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