Kayaker Rescues Dog Trapped On Breaking Lake Michigan Ice

A kayaker joined police and fire rescuers to help them save a dog trapped on ice floes in Lake Michigan last Friday.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the dog was spotted a half-mile away from shore. Warmer temperatures that day had cause ice to break apart, and the dog that had run away from home nine days before ending up trapped on floating ice.

After a helicopter arrived to verify that it was in fact a dog and not a coyote, a Chicago Fire Department boat joined the rescue attempt. As a diver prepared to enter the icy water, a man in a kayak paddled through ice chunks to help.

Dave Kehnast had spotted the stranded dog from his apartment. Kehnast told WLS-TV:

“I saw him way out there and so I grabbed the kayak over here, and I know that the lake is only a couple of feet deep all the way out to where the ice shelf ends. So I knew I’d be fine.”

The frightened dog tried to bite Kehnast when he got out of the kayak to help the him up onto the ice, but the kayaker just kept verbally encouraging the dog that every thing would be okay as they floated towards safety.

As the ice got close enough, the dog jumped in the water and swam to the shore. He then bolted through the streets of Chicago. City workers eventually corralled the dog in an alley where he was captured and then taken to a shelter.

The dog named Pifas is a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever and had been missing for 9 days. Nerijus Steponavicius, the dog’s human, explained that Pifas escaped when his landlord had the apartment door opened to change the locks.

Pifas was found to be healthy and free of injury, but Steponavicius wasn’t immediately allowed to take him home. City law required Pifas to be neutered before Animal Care and Control could release him.

Steponavicius told reporters he would like to treat the kayaker to dinner to thank him for saving his dog.