The Rock Saves His French Bulldog Puppies from Drowning

by Patrick Mahaney on November 17, 2015

This article originally appeared on Dr. Mahaney’s Pet-Lebrity News  column on as The Rock Saves His French Bulldog Puppies from Drowning.

the-rock-saves-puppies.lgDwayne Johnson (aka The Rock) recently found his action-picture experience useful when he leapt into his pool to save his French Bulldog puppies.

Johnson, who cut his teeth as a professional wrestler before transitioning to the silver screen, recently took to Instagram to share photo of him holding the puppies along with his account of the puppy rescue. Johnson included the following account of the misadventures of his canine companions. Here’s what he said:

“Here’s a fun Labor Day weekend story… We just decided to add two new members to our Johnson family. Baby French Bulldogs. In my right hand is BRUTUS and in my left hand is HOBBS. Bring them home and immediately take them outside so they can start learning how to ‘handle their business and potty like big boys.’ I set them both down and they both take off in a full sprint and fall right into the deep end of our pool. HOBBS immediately starts doggy paddling while BRUTUS (like a brick) sink heads first to the bottom of the pool. I take off into a full sprint, fully clothed, dive in the pool, swim to the bottom, rescue my brick, I mean BRUTUS and bring him back to the edge of the pool. He was a little delirious… took a moment, threw up all the water he swallowed and looked up at me as if to say, ‘Thank God you didn’t have to give me mouth to mouth!’ and then ran off to play with his brother.”

All dogs have the ability to swim but some do so better than others based on prior experience in the water, their body type, or their breed or mix of breeds. Puppies or adult dogs that have not been exposed to water or needed to swim may not have developed the ability to stay afloat like more experienced dogs. By this, I mean that just because a dog stood in a few inches of water for a bath or jumped into the public fountain doesn’t mean he has the comprehension of the physical actions needed to successfully swim.

Some dog breeds are inherently better swimmers than others. Dogs that excel at swimming typically have webbed feet and a long and mobile tail that functions as a rudder to provided direction and aid in floatation.  Strong-swimming breeds include the Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, Poodle and Border Collie. My Welsh Terrier, Cardiff, is an excellent swimmer who definitely enjoys his time in select bodies of water.  He’s not willing to jumping directly into the pool, but he’ll very readily walk down an incline into a body of water, like my parents’ former lake. Provided there’s not an abrupt differentiation between the water’s edge where he can stand and the water itself, Cardiff will enter on his own. Otherwise, he’ll refuse to enter and linger (and likely bark) on the sometimes overly hot pool deck.

The English Bulldog, French Bulldog and other breeds lacking a tail beyond a nub or having a corkscrew-shape tail typically don’t swim as well (sorry Brutus and Hobbs). One way Johnson could have prevented Brutus and Hobbs from falling into the water is a pool-encircling barrier. After all, just because Johnson’s puppies fell in once doesn’t mean they’re going to have the sense to not do so again. Households with children and those with dogs that used to being in or around the edge of the pool should consider some form sturdy barrier. Juvenile, senior and sight or mobility-compromised dogs are more prone to falling in and drowning than their more-experienced and normally mobile or sighted counterparts. On more than one occasion, I’ve lost senior patients to drowning in their owner’s unfenced pools lacking a security perimeter.

Another way Johnson can provide a safer experience for his pups is to use a pet-appropriate life vest. For Cardiff’s lakeside adventures, I use a Dog Lifejacket by Henry and Clemmie (you can see a great video of dogs partaking in activity while wearing the Dog Lifejacket on YouTube). Fitting Brutus and Hobbs with a life jacket and introducing them to the pool under the observation of a responsible adult can lead to safe and fun experience. Additionally, training the dogs to swim to the edge of the pool and get themselves out via the stairs or a dog swimming pool ramp will reduce the likelihood of drowning.

It turns out that Brutus fell ill after his watery incident. Johnson posted a photo of he and Brutus at the veterinary hospital with the following caption:

“First I save this lil’ zombie Brutus’ life from drowning in the pool, now he decides to get all sick on me and having that awesome “north/south” action coming out of both ends of his body. Fun night. Thank you to the animal Drs and nurses at St. Francis Emergency Animal Hospital for taking care of our gremlin. He’ll be back in no time wrestling and biting the shit outta my hands and happily peeing on my Jordan’s.”

After a near-drowning event, it’s crucial to immediately take your pet to the veterinarian for examination and treatment. When water is inhaled, potentially-lethal aspiration pneumonia can quickly ensue.

I hope that Brutus quickly recovered and Johnson has many happy and healthy years with his Frenchies.


Thank you for reading this article.  Your constructive comments are welcome (although I may not respond).

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Copyright of this article (2015) is owned by Dr Patrick Mahaney, Veterinarian and Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist. Republishing any portion of this article must first be authorized by Dr Patrick Mahaney. Requests for republishing must be approved by Dr Patrick Mahaney and received in written format.
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