A golden retriever was rescued from an icy lake near Perry Park in Douglas County Wednesday morning after a tense half-hour in the water.
The dramatic rescue was captured by Airtracker 7 at Wauconda Lake in the Perry Park Country Club, west of Larkspur.
When Airtracker 7 arrived, the dog was struggling to get back onto the ice but kept slipping into the cold water.
Firefighters stretched a fire hose out to the dog and the animal attempted to use it to regain its footing, but failed.
A firefighter in a donated rubber raft slowly made his way out to the stricken animal and managed to grab hold of her collar while other firefighters pulled them to safety.
"Since the dog had been in the water for 30 minutes, we needed to get her out before she died from hypothermia," said Roy Bonin, the firefighter in the raft.
But just as he reached the retriever, the ice gave way, so Bonin said he had to lock his feet in the raft and hug her by the collar as the firefighters and deputies with the Douglas County Sheriff's Department worked quickly to pull them in before the ice completely collapsed.
The dog, which was happily wagging her tail when she reached shore, was dried off and reunited with her owner. The owner was in such a rush to take the dog to a nearby vet that he did not leave his name.
That owner, Bob Barr, then returned to the Larkspur fire station several hours later to express his gratitude to the firefighters and explained to 7NEWS what happened.
"We were doing our walk. We just run along beside the lake. She's not on a leash at that point and she saw the geese on the lake and then took off onto the ice, which broke, and she fell in the water," said Barr. "I was pretty worried because I was sure she couldn't get off of the ice ... I didn't know how long she would last in that water."
Barr said the 1 1/2 year old golden retriever, named Lucy, has been given a clean bill of health by the vet who checked her out.
There was a chance Lucy could have suffered from some type of heart trouble because of the hypothermia, firefighters said. Lucy had been struggling in the frigid lake for about 15 minutes before Larkspur firefighters were called. Barr had tried to put a ladder in the water but it wouldn't reach, so he called for help.
Firefighters expect to be on more rescue calls like this because the weather is so warm that the ice on many lakes in the state have not frozen solid enough to support animals or people.
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