Firefighters in Long Island, New York, pulled an overenthusiastic dog from a frozen lake Wednesday, narrowly saving him from an icy death.
Teddy, a three-year-old Labrador Retriever and Collie mix was walking with his owner, Mary Ann Nesdill, in a park when he heard the irresistible sound of geese. Nesdill says that Teddy immediately “took off” in hot pursuit and ran onto the surface of a frozen lake, which collapsed under him.
“I thought I was going to lose him,” Nesdill said. “He was howling, and when I looked out, half of his body was in the water and the other half pawing at a piece of ice that was keeping him afloat.”
The dog was about 250 feet from shore when the Rockville Centre Fire Department came. Teddy clung to the chunk of ice for almost 30 minutes while firefighter Danny Leboff crawled across the lake, tethered to the shore.
“The dog kept yowling, and I knew I had to get him,” Leboff said.
Two other firefighters followed with an inflatable raft. If anything, Teddy’s accident was well-timed; the department had practiced the same procedure on the same lake just last week.
“He was so far out, I could barely see him out there,” Nesdill said. “He was struggling to get out of the hole in the ice. I thought we were going to lose him. I thought he was gone. He was howling, crying the whole time, breaking my heart.”
When Teddy was pulled from the water, he was shivering, with ice caked around his midsection. According to John Foy, the veterinarian who treated Teddy afterward, the rescuers got to him just in the nick of time.
“Had he spent more than 30 minutes in there, I’m not sure he would have made it,” Foy said.
He credits Teddy’s survival not only to the fast action of the RCFD, but to Teddy’s thick coat.
“He’s a lucky boy,” he said to Newsday. “That’s all I can say. He’s got a nice coat, and that’s what saved this guy. He’s lucky.”
It may have been a terrifying 30 minutes for Teddy and Mary Ann Nesdill, but from the videos it looks like he’s recovered quickly. Even in the vet’s office, his tail is wagging, and he looks like he wants nothing more than to go chase more birds.