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Widow of West Vancouver man who drowned trying to save dog describes desperate struggle in the water

From the moment Keen Lau met his neighbour's dog Loki, the two were inseparable.

“Keen actually offered, 'I go hiking every day, so I can take Loki for a walk.' And that was about three and a half years ago” said his widow Lisa Park.

Loki’s constant companionship helped Lau and Park get through the pain of two miscarriages.

“We didn’t think that Loki is a dog, it’s a son. Our son. So we actually took Loki everywhere,” she said.

On May 19, Lau and Park were walking Loki on a trail near Cypress Creek in West Vancouver when the golden labrador was swept away in the water. Park ran downstream and found Loki struggling to get out of the creek.

“I tried to actually pull Loki out first, but it was too hard,” Park said. “I gave him a stick and said, 'Loki, you have to try. And we have to work together. Please, try your best. ' And I remember his eyes. He was staring and me and I was staring at him. And I tried my best, but he couldn’t because the rock was slippery.”

It was then Lau jumped in the creek to try to hoist Loki out of the water.

“Keen was trying everything to push Loki out. But he couldn’t. And then later he got tired and he asked me, 'Lisa, I need your help,'" Park recalls. "So he came to me and he grabbed by wrist, and I tried to pull him up so hard, I remember that day. I was lying down on the rock and trying to pull him up so hard. But I couldn’t.”

Lau and Loki were both swept away. Darkness prevented a thorough search, so the following morning Park and other family members went looking for them.

“I kept calling, 'Keen, Loki, where are you? Please, where are you?'” said Park. “And then we found Loki’s body under the water, it wasn’t too far from where it happened.

Minutes later, Lau’s brother found the 45-year-old’s body.

“Of course I feel guilty that I couldn’t save him,” said Park, wiping away tears. But she knows she could never have stopped her husband from jumping in that creek.

“Keen would jump in the water for anyone or any dog. That’s Keen,” she said. “Keen, he’s really brave and he has huge compassion for animals and people.”

Keen Lau drowned trying to save beloved dog Loki after the pup was swept away in a West Vancouver creek. (Photo submitted by Lisa Park)

Lau ran for West Vancouver city council last fall, and was close friends with Mayor Mark Sager, who is spearheading a campaign to name a new outdoor fitness park at Ambleside Beach after Lau.

“Keen fitness park, this is perfect,” said Park. “It’s perfect to honour Keen, his name and legacy.”

His wife, who’s a teacher in Burnaby, will honour Lau’s legacy by continuing to champion causes he believed in.

“He was giving back to the community, he was doing a lot of things for the community. So I want to continue his work. I want to volunteer for the community,” she said.

But she knows the road ahead will be difficult without the man she married just a few months ago, and planned to spend the rest of her life with.

“I just miss him a lot of course,” said Park. “Every day he planted seeds of love in everyone’s heart.” Top Stories

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