Upon reaching the burning boat, he realized that in order to save the dog he would have to earn the scared animal’s trust first. As a horse trainer and all-around animal lover, Ruggles knew he was the right man for the job, and did what he could to calm the dog as the crowd watched tensely from the harbor.
“When I first got there, I reached out for the dog and he started barking and growling. So I tried to talk to him in a soft voice, and see if that would help,” Ruggles said. “He was very wide-eyed and his ears were up, so you could see how scared he was. I reached up and started petting the backside near the tail. I could just see the eyes start to droop down, and the ears start to fall, so I took that opportunity to pull him into the boat.”