By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
A yellow Labrador that fell through the ice of the North Platte River was pulled from the frigid water last weekend by Casper firefighters, delivering a happy ending to what could have been a tragic situation.
Casper Fire public information officer Andrew Sundell told Cowboy State Daily on Friday that firefighters were called just after noon on Saturday, Jan. 22, and told that a dog that had walked out onto the North Platte River and fallen through the ice.
“Once we realize it’s a river rescue, we sent out a fire engine and rescue truck to the scene,” Sundell said. “The team got out there and saw that the dog had basically tried to cross the river, had gotten to a soft spot out there and fallen through.”
The dog was clinging to the edge of the ice when firefighters arrived, and time was of the essence. One firefighter donned a full ice suit in case the rescue involved jumping into the water, while the rest of the team prepared an inflatable rescue boat that would allow them to safely travel across the ice.
“Two personnel were able to push out on the boat on the ice and use a dog catcher’s pole to pull the dog out of the water, get him into the boat and pull the boat back to shore,” Sundell said.
In total, the rescue took approximately two minutes. The dog was taken back to shore and reunited with its owner.
Sundell commended the owner for calling for emergency assistance instead of jumping into the water in attempt to rescue the dog.
“It was very wise of them to not go and attempt to rescue the dog themselves,” he said. “Especially for an owner, that’s a difficult situation because for a lot of people, dogs are family members. But if a dog is falling through the ice, a person is going to fall through as well.”
Sundell also commended the rescue team members for their prompt response and teamwork to rescue the Lab.