Julie McBroom said her dog’s recent trek onto an ice-covered lake turned into “quite an ordeal” when the canine couldn’t be coaxed off the ice.
Firefighters ultimately were called to rescue the dog named Tucker. And the canine ended up in the water with one of the firefighters.
“He had an adventure that’s for sure,” McBroom said.
She said Tucker was fine after the ordeal. The dog even had a roll in the snow after he was rescued from the lake.
The incident happened Feb. 1 in the area of 163rd Street and Dana Lane.
Jeff Simpson, who is a captain with Leavenworth Fire District No. 1, said he wasn’t scared when he crawled onto the thin ice.
Simpson said he has practiced ice rescues. And he’d previously used that training to help rescue animals.
Simpson and Lt. Dave Asmus both went onto the ice to perform the rescue. Simpson ended up breaking through the ice but he kept warm inside what is called a dry suit.
Rick Huhn, chief of Fire District No. 1, estimated the ice over the lake, which is near Lansing, was between a quarter and half of an inch thick.
Fire District No. 1 provides service to the city of Lansing and the Delaware and High Prairie townships.
McBroom said Tucker, who’s a golden retriever and border collie mix, apparently had gone onto the ice with a neighbor’s dog. The other dog finally was coaxed off the ice.
“My dog just wouldn’t come off,” McBroom said.
McBroom said she was working at the time but received a call from a neighbor. She arrived at the lake as the firefighters were headed out to get her dog.
“He’d been out there three, four hours,” she said.
Simpson said he wore a dry suit rather than an ice suit because firefighters initially planned to use a boat to reach the dog.
“We ended up scratching that idea,” he said.
Firefighters had rope tethers as they went onto the ice.
When he first stepped on the ice, it began to crack, Simpson said.
“We knew it was thin,” he said.
He tried to spread out his body as he made his way across the ice rather than walking.
“You don’t walk out because that puts more pressure on the ice,” Simpson said.
He initially crawled on the ice. As the ice began “popping,” he laid on his belly and continued to move across the ice.
Page 2 of 2 - Simpson estimated the dog was between 75 and 100 feet from the edge of the lake. The firefighter said he’d probably traveled between 40 and 50 feet across the ice before he broke through.
Simpson said he knew he eventually was going to fall through the ice, so he intentionally broke through it so he could make a controlled entry into the water.
As Simpson made his way through the water, there were a couple of spots where his feet kicked something. But he was told the body of water reached a depth of eight feet.
When Simpson was about 10 to 12 feet from the dog, the animal walked over to him on the ice.
“I couldn’t get him to walk the rest of the way in,” Simpson said.
He said he ended up having to pull the dog into the water with him so he could carry the animal.
“I pulled him into the water and bear-hugged him,” Simpson said.
While Simpson stayed warm in the dry suit, he admitted his hands became cold, but he is OK.
“I did have gloves on,” he said.
McBroom said the dog was toweled off and taken home after the rescue.
She said it was a good thing the firefighters responded because she doesn’t think the dog would have ever come off the ice.
McBroom said she’s since learned a lot of dogs get stuck on ice.
While Simpson’s been involved in rescuing animals, he has not been called upon to save a person from an icy body of water.