Dog Falls 15 Stories, Saved by Hot Tub

We know there are a myriad of ways the hot tub is good for you: it’s great for stress relief, can increase brain function, and even enhance a romantic evening. It can aid in relaxation and rejuvenate us, mind and body. But do you think it could save a life?

That’s exactly what one hot tub did in Sacramento, California this December when a dog fell from 15 stories up and landed in the spa below. That’s right. FIFTEEN stories, or approximately 150 feet.


Sam—a 13-year-old, partially blind Boston terrier, fell off the balcony of Bill McCourt, Sam’s owner and high rise resident. The theory is that Bill’s mother Bette was taking care of the dog while McCourt was at work and assumed the dog was in the house while he had really wondered out onto the patio. Sam probably became disoriented and couldn’t find his way back into the house when he tumbled through the railings and down 15 floors.

The small dog was known to spend time on the warm balcony where he could hear and smell the city around him. He’d visited the balcony daily since his owner had moved to the complex—Bridgeway Towers—three years previous.

That particular day ended in a near disaster, but was saved by the open water in the spa below. Some nearby building workers heard the splash. When they went over to the water, they saw Sam—a dog they recognized as McCourt’s—paddling around the water. The workers then contacted Bette Plumb, McCourt’s mother who originally assumed he had made his way down the elevator or stairs only to realize he had actually fallen and was saved by the water.

hot tub fall 2

Sam was able to walk on his own after that, albeit with a slight limp. After visiting the vet, they found that he had a fractured pelvis, five rib fractures, and needed some stitches on his rump. Bill McCourt was just happy that he lived, especially since he’s cared for the dog since it was five weeks old. It’s expected that it will take Sam about 6-8 weeks to fully recover.

Will Sam be allowed out onto the balcony again?

“His balcony days are over,” Bill said. “I don’t think I’d be running back out there again.”

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