A 1-year-old Australian Shepherd mix trapped in a freezing pond Monday morning in Chatham is safe and sound thanks to the actions of a Springfield woman.
Lauren Staab said she was at her boyfriend's house when she looked out the window and saw the dog swimming in a small section of the pond in Glenwood Lake Estates that was not frozen.
The dog, Staab said, had walked onto the ice and then either slipped or fell into a 10- to 12-foot section of the pond where an aerator circulated the water, causing it not to freeze.
Being a dog lover herself, Staab said, she was mortified and knew she had to act fast. She ran upstairs and got her boyfriend's dad to help with the rescue.
The two tried to use a rope and flotation device to pull the dog out of the water but didn't have any luck.
Needing a new strategy fast, they pulled a small jon boat he kept outside to the pond. She got in the boat and he gave her a push.
But because the water was mostly frozen over, Staab said, she had to scoot the boat along the ice to reach the dog, who she could tell was losing stamina and nearing hypothermia by that point.
"He wasn't going to make it too much longer," she said.
Luckily, she pulled the dog out of the water and scooted back to shore. The Chatham Police Department arrived by that point and quickly wrapped the dog in a blanket and put him in a car to warm up.
She isn't sure how long the dog was in the water, but Staab said it felt like it could have been close to 30 minutes.
"If I hadn't seen him, he probably would have ended up drowning," she said.
The dog, Ranger, belongs to Lisa Hendricks, who lives across the pond with her husband from where Staab was, but wasn't home at the time.
Hendricks said Ranger must have went outside through the dog door and probably saw some ducks, which drew him to the pond.
She can barely put into words how grateful she is Staab spotted her dog, Hendricks said, adding Ranger quickly returned to his normal, playful self upon returning home.
"He's my whole world, and I do not know what I would have done," she said.