I thought I’d share this feel good story with all of you even though it involves a dog…and not a cat. This little dog was stranded on the ice in an area of the river not far from where I live. He spent 4 days and 3 nights on the ice in some of the coldest temperatures we’ve experienced so far this winter season. He was finally rescued and it was a miracle that he survived.
Close up of the dog spotted on the ice
It all started last Wednesday when someone spotted a small dog out on the ice in the river. It was in an area of a local park that overlooks the river and some small islands. Many local photographers go there to take photos of the wildlife. It was one of those photographers with his zoom lens who saw the dog on the ice close to one of the islands. He was quite a ways off shore, and the river was not completely frozen so no one was able to walk out there.
Word of the dog’s peril got out…I followed the story on Facebook…and as you can imagine, the concern for the dog was overwhelming. How the dog…who someone said his name was Alfonzo…ended out there on the ice is not known. There was lots of misinformation. That somehow the dog got away from his owners and that a coyote had chased him out on the ice. The part about the coyote was sort of true. There are coyotes on the island near where the dog was seen, and a coyote did chase the dog from the island back onto the ice where he stayed. But how the dog got out there in the first place remains a mystery.
Coyote circling – arrow pointing at the dog
The director of one of the local animal shelters was contacted, and she and others called local police and fire departments to see if they could help. The coast guard was called. There was some talk that the dog had crossed the Canadian border (the US/Canada border runs through the river) so a local Canadian fire department was contacted. Everyone was looking for a safe way to rescue this dog. Local news reporters showed up to report on what was happening. Over the course of the next couple of days, drones and helicopters were sent out looking for the dog but he wasn’t spotted. It was feared that he had not survived.
A couple of days went by and people were losing hope that the dog would ever be rescued. He hadn’t been seen. But then Saturday morning, one of the photographers spotted the dog again. And the race to rescue him was on.
Unfortunately a rescue like this isn’t as easy as it might appear. Water rescues especially when there’s ice are tricky. No one knew how thick the ice was. The current of the river is very strong. The right kind of boat, something with a flat bottom, had to be used.
The Canadian fire department contacted a local Canadian company who had a flat bottom air boat, and one of its employees went out there with it. He said he found the dog hiding in the undergrowth on the edge of the island. He grabbed him, wrapped him in a blanket and headed for shore. When he got there, the large crowd of people that had gathered at the park cheered.
Back on land again
The dog was immediately rushed to a local veterinarian clinic where he was given the care he needed. No one could believe this little dog survived all that time out on ice. But he did. One thing the vet said was that the dog’s extremely matted fur probably saved his life because it kept his body insulated from the cold. He suffered from hypothermia, frost bite, malnutrition, and a severe case of pancreatitis. But he is recovering and the vet thinks his prognosis is good. His owner has not yet been identified though many people have offered to adopt him.
On the way to the vet
Big kudos to all the people involved in the rescue…those that wouldn’t give up and found a way to save this little dog.
He has been dubbed the Miracle Dog because how he survived 4 days out on the ice in the cold and snow and being chased by coyotes truly IS a miracle.
**All photos courtesy of Tim Epperly, Epperly Photographic Images**