Dramatic Rescue Saves Dog from Freezing Water at Upper Pond

Upper Pond, Wildwood Park. OnFocus photo.

Zookeeper, Good Samaritan Rescue Dog

Marshfield, WI (OnFocus) A dramatic rescue of a stranded dog from icy water took place early this morning at Wildwood Park.

While opening up the zoo shortly after 7 a.m. Tuesday, Zookeeper Steve Burns had turned the corner around Upper Pond and saw a man desperately attempting to get his attention.

A yellow lab clearly in distress was swimming in the open water and struggling to climb back onto the ice that edged the pond. The good Samaritan had spotted the dog and didn’t know whose it was or how long it had been out there.

“I told him to hang tight,” said Burns. He drove back to the zoo and came back with an extension ladder to slide out onto the ice. “At first we were hoping the dog would just climb out on the ladder. It did try once, but couldn’t get out on its own.”

At that point Burns slid out onto the ladder on his stomach while the man held onto the other end on shore. After a few minutes of struggling to get close enough to the dog, Burns was able to grab its collar and drag it up onto the ice.

No owner’s info was listed on the tags, but the vet was contacted through the rabies tag and the owner located while the dog recovered in the warm vehicle. With help from ordinance officer Kayla Wolf, the lab was safely reunited with its owner. Wolf said the dog had spotted a deer while being let out in the morning and had rushed off.

Although unable to get the good Samaritan’s name during the rescue, Burns credits the man with saving the dog’s life. “Without him originally spotting it and waving me down, we might not have the happy ending we do,” he said.

Update 11/20: The good Samaritan is Jerry Hansen, who in turn credits Burns for the successful rescue. “I’m just glad I was there at the right time. We all love animals, and to see the dog suffering to stay above water was heartbreaking,” he said. “I’m thankful the dog is okay and to see it come out of the water, tail wagging, was so great to see.”

Kaylin S
Author: Kaylin S

Kaylin Speth is a Marshfield native with a bachelor's degree in English from UW-Green Bay. She enjoys highlighting the many great things happening in the community and bringing to life the untold stories. Email the team at [email protected]