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September 19 • 06:37 PM
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Black Lab is one lucky dog!


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Firefighters make their way across semi-frozen pond to rescue large black Lab who’d fallen through the ice in Emmett Twp. Mussey firefighters were called to assist because they have a rescue boat, Emmett does not.

December 10, 2008
EMMETT TWP. — A semi-frozen pond and a 125 pound black Lab made for a dicey scene as firefighters struggled to rescue the stranded dog from the icy waters on Dunnigan Road last Tuesday.

Emmett Twp. firefighters Aaron Piper—also a medic, Matt Machowski and trainee Steve Rziemkowski didn't give up on the rescue, though they were challenged at every turn.

The stranded dog was discovered by a meter reader as it struggled to get out of the pond, Piper says. The large dog had fallen through thin ice around the middle of the pond, and its owners weren't home at the time.

"He'd been out there a while when we got there," Piper says. "His paws and head were above the water on the ice, and he was still trying to get out."

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The firefighters tried throwing a rope to rescue the dog, but were unsuccessful. They also tried using the family's paddle boat, but halted the effort when it began to take on water.

Piper says he knew that the Mussey Twp. Fire Department had a rescue boat, so he called them for help.

"We got the boat into the water and used it like an ice breaker," Piper says. "We got out to the dog and grabbed a hold of him. By the time we got to him he'd given up trying to get out."

Mussey Twp. Fire Chief Don Standel says the dog's size prevented rescuers from hauling him into the boat, but they were able to hang onto the dog and head back toward shore.

Rescue personnel worked quickly to wrap the dog in blankets and dry him off.

"He was weak and he couldn't stand up," Piper says. "But he ended up being fine."

Family members, who'd returned home after they were notified of the situation, brought him inside and warmed him in a bath, Piper says.

"It was an unusual situation and I'm glad it worked out okay," he says. "I also would like to thank Mussey for their excellent response to help us."

Emmett and Mussey township firefighters were assisted on scene by Tri-Hospital EMS.

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