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Dog spared an icy fate
Spaniel paddled for hour in pond
dog rescue 3 jd
Firefghter James Cook carries the dog from the boat that he and Lieutenant Zach Buice, right, used to rescue the animal. - photo by Jim Dean

Authorities are trying to find the owners of the cocker spaniel rescued Monday. Anyone with information can call (770) 888-2500.
Rescuers are marveling at the determination of a cocker spaniel, who was pulled Monday from an icy pond in north Forsyth after treading water for at least an hour.

“That poor dog was just paddling and paddling. It was doing everything it could just to stay up top,” James Cook said. “Thank God we got to the dog before he gave up.”

Cook and Zach Buice with the Forsyth County Fire Department used a small boat to pull themselves toward the cream-colored dog, who was trapped between large pieces of ice in a pond off Parks Road.

Once rescued, the dog was taken to Orr Animal Hospital for treatment. Now, he just needs a home.

Sgt. Brian Deblois with county animal control said the dog appears to be a stray, lacking a collar or microchip.

If he does have owners, they will have seven days to claim him before he’s put up for adoption.

“We did a canvas of the area,” Deblois said. “Nobody had seen it prior.”

Though the dog had no identification, his teeth indicate he’s about 6 or 7 years old, said Chris Prather, manager of the animal hospital. It took several hours to elevate the dog’s temperature.

“He’s calm and he’s doing good,” Prather said. “He’s livened back up. Everything is stable.”

The incident, which Deblois described as unusual, began Monday morning when the dog fell through ice, possibly while trying to drink water.

The dog was spotted by Daphne Moore, who owns the boat firefighters used in the rescue.

Moore’s son was looking out the window at the ice when he noticed the dog flailing in the water behind their house.

“It was paddling and kicking real hard to get out, but he wasn’t getting anywhere. He was just going in circles,” Moore said. “[Later], the dog was stiller ... I was just hoping he was still alive.

“I was just afraid it was going to sink down into the lake.”

Moore called authorities.

Cook said the rescue “took what seemed like forever.”

“We’d pull ourselves up onto the ice that was about an inch and a half thick,” he said. “We’d go forward about 5 or 6 feet and we’d slide back 2 or 3 feet again.

“We couldn’t get there fast enough, and the two of us in that little johnboat were afraid it was going to tip over and we were going in the water.”

As the men made their way toward the spaniel, he was able to free himself from the ice and swim close enough to the boat for Cook to pull him in.

“The poor little thing just sat between my legs shivering,” said Cook, who owns six basset hounds.

Prather said animal control brought the dog in to the hospital about 11:30 a.m.

He was dried off with a hair dryer and placed in an enclosed oxygen cage to bring his body temperature up to normal.

Deblois said it is rare that local lakes and ponds freeze to such extent. But with colder weather expected later this week, he said it’s important for dog owners to be “cognizant of the surroundings of their property.”

Deblois praised the firefighters, who “did an awesome job going out there and jeopardizing their own safety,” as well as the dog.

“Sounds like everything was just working in this dog’s favor,” he said.