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A Jogger in Chicago Rescues a Poodle and the Dog's Owner from Freezing Lake Michigan

"He kept saying, 'Save the dog first,' I kept saying, 'No, we're going to save your life first and then the dog, your life is more important.'"

 |  Feb 5th 2014  |   2 Contributions


It's been happening a lot this winter: dogs and their owners plunging into icy cold water, falling through the ice and other hazards. The latest crazy rescue happened on Tuesday on Lake Michigan, but this one is a little different. The owner seemed ready to give up his own life for his dog's. He kept saying to rescuer, "Save the dog first."

When he said this, the man was bobbing in Lake Michigan. 

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It started Tuesday at 5:15 p.m., with a man walking three Poodles along the lake. One of the dogs ran around a retaining wall, went onto the ice, and then fell in, according to a story by NBC Chicago. 

The owner followed the dog onto the ice -- and he also fell in. Barking and screams alerted a passing jogger, Adam Dominik, who ran over. He found cross-country skier Lynn Gerhard, who was calling 911, but Dominik didn't believe there was time to wait for emergency crews. Dominik looked over the retaining wall and saw the man submerged and holding his dog out of the water.

"His face was peering out. He was completely submerged, except for his face," Dominik said. "I knew I had about two or three minutes before hypothermia set in and he went under, so I had Lynn keep talking to him and keep his spirits up."

He found a yellow rope near a bird sanctuary and threw it to the man, and that's when the man said to save his dog first. 

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"At first I threw the rope over him but the dog was kind of pulling on him with his weight pushing him under the water," Dominik said. "He kept saying, 'Save the dog first,' I kept saying, 'No, we're going to save your life first and then the dog, your life is more important,' but he insisted on pulling up the dog first." 

The man tied the rope to the dog and Dominik pulled the Poodle up. He threw the rope back and the man tied it to himself, and Dominik started pulling. Somehow, he got the man to a ledge just above the waterline, where they waited for the Chicago Police Department Marine Unit and the fire department to arrive and take over.  

The man was transferred to the hospital with severe hypothermia, but he's expected to be fine, as is the dog.

Officer Kevin Kelly praised Dominik.

"He's responsible for a rescue here today," he said. "He did a great job."

Many officials, however, would like to see an end to these sorts of things.

"If a dog goes in the water, call 911 and we'll come and get you," said Ron Dornecker of the Chicago Fire Department. "Don't go in yourself." 

Via NBC Chicago

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