Saturday, February 9, 2013

Don't own a dog unless...

The dog park we bring Thatcher and Boden to borders the Mississippi River. It's several fenced-in acres of woods, trails and beach. Being a "balmy" 30-something degree day, we decided to trek over to the dog park and let the boys frolic around with the many friends they come across there. In typical Saturday fashion, the park was full of life. This was a nice change from the last time we took them there. It was a -10 degree morning, and we were literally the only people dumb enough to be there. Anyhow, Thatcher and Boden don't get as much social interaction in the winter, aside from our trips to Petsmart or the neighborhood dogs we cross paths with on walks every now and then. So they were thrilled when we arrived and they realized where we were. 

We usually take the same route through the park. We walk through the woods on a trail that leads to a peninsula on the edge of the water, a 1-2 mile hike. Then we loop down and walk the beach the whole way back. Along the way, Thatch and Boden enthusiactically romp around with the other dogs we encounter. Boden, ever the social butterfly, makes sure to greet every living creature in the park - humans and animals alike. His best friend of choice today was another 7-month-old puppy - a goofy pit bull/lab mix. They chased and jumped on each other much of our walk, until Boden finally got distracted by new friends and ran ahead. Thatcher is much more concerned with investigating all of the scents. He trots around like a hound dog, his nose to the ground, snorting like a pig. Occasionally, he'll become sidetracked by another dog's ball. He'll say hi to the other dogs, being sure to puff up his chest to look big and tough, but then goes back to his investigative work.

So we hiked through the woods and got the peninsula, then started back on our normal route along the beach. The water close to the shore was frozen, but the ice was clearly pretty thin because of the last few warm days. Boden really hasn't had the chance to be around water a whole lot yet since he was born towards the end of summer. He clambered over to the edge of the river and took a few shaky steps onto the frozen part. Knowing the ice wasn't steady, we immediately called him to us, but it was too late. His front paws broke through and he fell head-first into the icy water. He panicked, thrashing around and whimpering for help. We were standing probably 10 yards away when this happened, and J was moving before I could even really react. He sprinted over to the edge to pull Boden to safety in a matter of seconds, soaking his own legs in the process.

It all happened in less than a minute. Being so close to shore, the water couldn't have been much more than waist-deep (on a human), but it was still scary. We thought Boden would be traumatized and shivering, and we still had a very long walk to get back to the car. But our worries were unecessary. He recovered in about half a second and went back to merrily running down the beach. Unless you felt him, you wouldn't even know he was wet, because he did not act cold in the slightest. Now, where was Thatcher during this short ordeal? Was he by our side concerned about Boden? No. After Boden was safely back on solid ground, we quickly looked around trying to make sure Thatcher was still alive and safe too. Where did we find him? About 100 yards away, cheerfully playing with another group of dogs, not even noticing what had just happened. 

So the moral of the story is this: Do not own a dog unless you are willing to jump into the icy Mississippi River to rescue him. I'd like to think our puppy has also learned his lesson and will be more cautious in the future. I fear, though, that the only lesson he learned today is to be even more brave, because mom and dad will save him no matter what situation he gets himself into. Oh well. He's snoring on the (now soaking wet) bed next to me, and I can't help but smile and think about all the crazy things we do for our pets. 

Boden sleeping off "the incident"


  1. I am glad that Boden is safe. Scary experience when you think about what could have happened. Give both of them a big hug from us.
    SammyandLacey woof woof

  2. Mica our younger Newf did that a couple years ago, Dad went over to pull her out and ice broke for him too (about 6-7 ft deep at falls). I held out my walking stick to pull out dad so he could pull out Mica. Lexie our older Newf dove in head first to save them both she got out just fine by herself. Hope Mica learned this year she was more careful, but we'll save her no matter what:-)