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Ruff Rescue: Firefighters Save Dog From Icy Waters

The heroes used life-saving ice-rescue apparatus to pull a Golden Retriever named Satchel to safety.

Jeff Goldberg  |  Jan 8th 2015


Conditions in the Northeast late Wednesday night were the coldest in more than four years, with temperatures dipping below zero. But during the morning hours on Wednesday, it was a somewhat different story, and that led to a scary situation in Sudbury, Mass., for a pup named Satchel.

The two-year-old Golden Retriever wandered out onto an icy pond while on a walk with his owner and fell through the soft surface into the frigid waters below.

But fast-acting Sudbury fire fighters rushed to the scene to make a daring rescue.

Sudbury, Mass., firemen deploy a special ice-rescue sled to save Satchel from freezing waters. (Photo courtesy of the Sudbury Fire Department)

Sudbury, Mass., firemen deploy a special ice-rescue sled to save Satchel from freezing waters. (Photo courtesy of the Sudbury Fire Department)

“Firefighters are life savers, but they never know what conditions they will be working under or what kind of resident they might be called upon to save,” Sudbury Fire Chief William Miles said in a statement.

Satchel and his owner, Bettina Westerberg, were taking their usual walk through conservation land Wednesday morning in temperatures that hovered right around the freezing mark, but warm enough to weaken ice that had formed on water nearby.

“He walks ahead of me, I call him, and he comes back. We went a little father, this time I called him back, and I walked over a hill he was in the ice,” Westerberg told WHDH-TV. “He really was just looking at me, which was really sad.”

Satchel, a two-year-old Golden Retriever, is rescued from icy waters in Sudbury, Mass. (Photo courtesy of the Sudbury Fire Department)

Satchel, a two-year-old Golden Retriever, is rescued from icy waters in Sudbury, Mass. (Photo courtesy of the Sudbury Fire Department)

Westerberg called 911, and by fortunate happenstance, the responding rescue unit was close to the scene. A team of firemen quickly arrived and dispatched their ice-rescue apparatus, including a sled that allows them to enter the icy area without breaking through.

A grateful Satchel followed their commands and was quickly extracted from his icy danger by firemen Shane Medeiros and Michael Kilgallen.

“We brought the sled right out to him, reached down, picked him up, and he was dying to get out of the water so he hopped right up,” Kilgallen told Boston.com.

Satchel was checked out by a veterinarian and is doing fine.

Firefighters remind everyone to stay off the ice. They say if your dog falls into ice or gets stranded, call 911 instead of trying to make the rescue yourself.

Via Boston.com and WHDH

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About the author: Jeff Goldberg is a freelance writer in Quincy, Mass. A former editor for MLB.com and sportswriter for the Hartford Courant who covered the University of Connecticut’s women’s basketball team (Huskies!) and the Boston Red Sox, Jeff has authored two books on the UConn women: Bird at the Buzzer (2011) and Unrivaled (2015). He lives with his wife, Susan, and their rescue pup, Rocky, an Italian Greyhuahua/Jack Russell mix from a foster home in Tennessee, hence the name Rocky (as in Rocky Top).