Emergency responders came to the aid of a dog that fell through the ice on a slough near the junction of East Shore Drive and South Shore Drive in Detroit Lakes on Tuesday morning.
Becker County Deputies and Detroit Lakes firefighters responded to the scene, and the airboat arrived on its trailer, but before they could take any action the dog was able to get out of trouble on his own, clambering into nearby bulrushes and making his way through them to a wooded area, from afterwhich he was seen running through backyards in the South Shore Drive neighborhood.
It was a different story 20 minutes earlier, when Mike and Christine Moher of Detroit Lakes were walking by the slough on East Shore Drive.
They heard a dog barking and howling in distress and then saw the yellow Lab-type dog in the water not too far from shore.
"He was an older-looking golden Lab, chest deep in the water. He was shaking-he had his back legs on the ground and his front legs on the ice, and every time he tried to pull himself up, the ice would break," Mike Moher said. "He had a collar with tags on, he must be somebody's dog." Moher and another man went to the water's edge to coax the dog in, and watched him crawl up and disappear into the thick swamp grass.
They called 911 at 10:15 a.m. and the first deputy was on the scene at 10:22 a.m., said Becker County Sheriff Todd Glander. The original call was about a dog in Detroit Lake, that's why the Sheriff's Office responded. "We're responsible for anything that happens on water or ice," he said.
"The dog got out-he appeared safe and healthy-the owners called in to dispatch to say it was their dog," he said.
This time of year animals sometimes get into trouble on the ice, he said. "We remind people to keep track of their pets-especially now with waterfowl migration. A lot of the time they will land on open water on lakes and rivers-we have had dogs go in after ducks and geese and fall in."
Detroit Lakes Fire Chief Scott Flynn said it was the first such incident this year. "There's usually one or two a year," he said. Firefighters respond because it's the right thing to do. "it would be inhumane to watch a dog go down," he said.
If people see an animal struggling in icy water, they should immediately call 911. "Don't try to go out and get the animal yourself," Glander said. "We don't want somebody to fall in and put themselves in jeopardy."
Between the sheriff's office, local rescue squads and the fire department, "we are equipped for ice rescue," he said.