Firefighters rescue dog from icy pond

Published: January 17, 2008 | 6916th good news item since 2003

Patti Dunbar says her 3-year-old black lab, Harley, has never been known to turn away treats and it shows. She just never thought it might put him in danger.

Dunbar said she was doing routine housework Wednesday afternoon when she saw two of her three canines exploring near the 60- by 80-foot pond at the back of her Whitmore Lake property.

Images of them submerged in the chilly water raced through her mind and she headed to the nearest door to order them away. But in just those few seconds, Harley – who is a bit overweight at 100 pounds – went through the thin layer of ice.

“You obviously don’t want them to drown and you don’t want to watch them drown either, so it was very scary,” said Dunbar, who immediately called neighbors to help.

A handful of residents from around her neighborhood just off of 7 Mile Road tried laying wooden planks to reach Harley, who while paddling to keep her head above water kept drifting farther from shore, Dunbar said.

Attaching her toys to long sticks in an effort to fetch her out also failed. After about 30 minutes, Dunbar, who is five months pregnant, considered jumping into the water herself, but called the Northfield Fire Department.

Donning special suits made for ice rescues, Lt. Abe Schneider and firefighter Scott Conklin went into the 17-foot-deep, man-made pond and pulled the weary canine to safety.

“She was paddling pretty hard and you could tell she was getting tired,” said Capt. Jay Keinecq , who was supervising the rescue. “If this were a person who had been in there that long they probably would’ve had a hard time. I think everybody lucked out.”

Harley was quickly comforted by a bevy of blankets and has shown no injuries or lasting effects from her 50-minute ordeal, a thankful Dunbar said by phone Thursday.

And she’s still loving her treats.

“She’ll always make sure she gets those, there’s no question about it,” Dunbar said.

Published in Animals
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