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Would You Risk Almost-Certain Death for Your Dog?

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January 04, 2010

Would You Risk Almost-Certain Death for Your Dog?

By David DiBenedetto

The holidays produced some tragic news out of northern California. A trio of brothers, ages 32, 34, and 39, went duck hunting near McArthur on some flooded fields. On their way home one of the brothers tossed a rock onto Big Lake and their dog, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, went out after it. But the dog busted through the thin ice and could not get out. One brother went out on the ice to rescue the dog but also fell in. As reported by the Associated Press, the two other brothers then formed a human chain to reach the third brother, but they also broke through the ice. In a short time, two brothers were dead. It’s estimated they had about 90 seconds to get out of the 40-degree water before they lost the dexterity to climb back onto the ice. The remaining brother and the dog survived.

Here’s what Lt. Les Lovell of the El Dorado County Sheriff’s office told the Associated Press: “I certainly understand why people want to rescue a pet, but it’s a dangerous situation.”

I’m not here to play Monday morning quarterback, only to relay this news as a warning. Right now much of the country is experiencing an extreme cold snap, and there’s ice in places where it usually doesn’t occur (like my hometown of Charleston, S.C.). Please, let’s all be careful out there as duck season continues.

Comments (45)

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from pinopolis wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Tough to say what I would do in that situation, but it's hard to imagine that I wouldn't try save my dog. My heart goes out to the family.

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from pinopolis wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Tough to say what I would do in that situation, but it's hard to imagine that I wouldn't try save my dog. My heart goes out to the family.

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from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

For one to do a foolish act can cost so much

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from babsfish4life wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

I would have taken the time to think of a better rescue plan. I would assume a dog would be able to last quite some time in the water. I would attempt to save my dog but I wouldn't risk my life as much as they did. I won't criticize them for their actions, but I wouldn't do that.

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from buckhunter wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

As much as it pains me to say it, I would not risk death for my dog. I have a wife and 3 kids to consider and besides I think my dog would want it that way.

A very tragic story.

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from Jeff Bowers wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

It's a tough call. Nobody does those things intending to die. Situations just go bad sometimes. It's a horrible way for the family to end the holidays.

It's reflexes. The best intentions, but a moment to think could have made a different outcome.

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from dukkillr wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

I agree with the rest of the guys. Of course I'm going to try to save my dog, but if it involves risking my own life then I'm going to back off.

The tragic part is that the dog ended up surviving...without their help. Needless deaths are always heartbreaking.

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from MLH wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Terrible thing to happen. Hard to put oneself into another's shoes in a situation like that. I would have tried something to save a dog and anything to save a brother.

Years ago we hit a swimming hole with the dogs. As we were leaving I casually threw a rock into the lake. One of the dogs just went in after it. He kept swimming around looking for it. I kept calling but he wouldn't come in. He started to tire and was whining. I finally thought to throw in a stick. He found that and brought it back to me. Also reminded me of the waterfowl hunter that threw a stick of dynamite out on the ice to blow out a hole. His lab naturally fetched it. They shot at the dog to keep him away, but it ran under their truck. Blew a hole in the ice all right. But they lost their dog, their truck, and all their gear. A CO told me this was a true story. Retrievers retrieve so I am cautious about throwing anything around them.

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from Brittle wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

maybe i would creep out and if the ice got bad i would go back but i wouldnt jump in a lake in winter here in wisconsin

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from Bella wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Harsh, very harsh, condolences to the suffering family. Ice is tricky, one should never attempt an ice rescue without equipment, at least ropes and extension ladders. It is much too easy to die a very very cold death. Best to call the pro's if they can get there in time, If there is no time, one still needs to get rescue gear of whatever kind is appropriate. Dogs are usually tougher than people, and while we hate it when we loose a dog, it is nothing to what that poor family is going through.

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from Walt Smith wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

There is only one answer to the question, that is NO! I love dogs as much as anyone, but this one is a no brainer Bubba!!

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

I would hope that I would not have to risk my life to save my dog on ice, but one never knows.

A few years ago, a neighbor kid was at our place and threw a rock onto our frozen pond ( which is 3 to 12 feet deep) and my wife's golden retriever went out onto the ice and promptly fell through and could not get out of the hole. One of the teenage boys there quickly put the little paddle boat onto the ice and pushed it across with a paddle and when he nearly reached the dog, the ice gave way! He then pulled the dog into the boat and broke the ice along the way back to the bank and never even got his shoes wet! Smart kid!

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from seadog wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

I'd go pretty far to save my dog, but I'm not sure what I'd do in this situation. I'm like a fish out of water on a frozen lake--I don't think I would go out on the ice. If the danger was more familiar to me, like an alligator attack, I'd be more inclined to take a risk.

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from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

DITTO Bella thank you

saying that

Nature has a sure way of dealing with stupidity!

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from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Reminds me of when RiffRaff (German Shorthair) was just a pup in April of 87. Had him out 4 wheeling and he ran up on a snow bank a jumped off onto a water hole covered by thin ice and snow and busted thru. Talk about a pup jumping up on my ATV scared, wet and cold! I sat him in front of me and covered him up in my Columbia Gortex Parka and I had a cold ride home I did, LOL! He stayed toasty warm!

Got to take care of my buddy you know!

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from blackdawgz wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Certainly, I have taken maximum risk for my dawg. But there are unanswered questions here...The entire scenario suggests that these guys were never the sharpest knives in the drawer anyhow. What was the purpose of throwing the rock, if not to bait the dog. Why didn't they call him back? The local lakes are at 43 degrees. I have swum them from one end to the other 1/4 mile one way), and only had to crawl out. I can't tell that manual dexterity had anything to do with it. How would that affect getting out of the ice? The obvious thing to do is to break ice with your fist until your feet reach bottom. Repat until you get ashore.Had they been drinking? Certainly, just because someone buys a Chessie, it doesn't mean they're stupid. Or does it? Those people were obviously abusing that dog, and should be investigated for Felony Animal Abuse. Hunting situations can be deadly. There is no humor in watching your dog struggle for his life. Even if he is a Chesapeake.

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from IceClash wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

I wont know unless it comes to that which i hope it never will

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from IceClash wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

I wont know unless it comes to that which i hope it never will

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from jamesti wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

i would be too tempted to go after my dog. i really believe i would go after him. no way i would watch him struggle. he would give all for me so why not? what did that guy think the dog would do? just a bad situation all around.

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from kelmitch wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

I have a Radison canoe that I wish they had had with them.I will certainly take it with us!

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from gman3186 wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

with a doubt my dog would do anything he could to help me so i would do the same to help him

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from kelmitch wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Always be prepared for the worst weather hunting or fishing!

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from Elmer Fudd wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

well, Clay, I know better than that and so do you, one reason is I have heard of this happenin before. But stupidity is not where I would place their actions. Not too many people realize how fast you can kiss your butt goodbye in that situation.

I have been boning up on George Rogers Clark and Rober Rogers too, those are some great Americans that pulled some cold water risking-it that has no explanation when you read about it, if you ask me.

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from Elmer Fudd wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

and General Forrest at Fort Donelson too, although explanation there might be using horses

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from WhitetailHunter706 wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

i would definetly try

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from WhitetailHunter706 wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

i would definetly try

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from Elmer Fudd wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

MLH, regarding the dynamite, there is a story in the Civil War in New Mexico

"There occurred that evening a rather strange episode when Paddy Graydon, a Union scout, undertook a little
mission designed to create havoc among the invading Texans. Graydon and one of his cohorts obtained two worn
out mules and strapped a large load of artillery shells upon them. The spies then quietly led the mules across the
river. When within a short distance from the rebel pickets, they lit the fuses and slapped the mules on their rumps
to send them running into the enemy lines. Graydon and his partner then made haste to get back across before all
hell broke loose. Hearing something behind them, they glanced over their shoulders expecting to see alert rebel
pickets chasing them. Their followers, however, were not Texans. The mules apparently decided that they did not
like the plan and instead turned around and followed their former leaders. The retreat of the scouts immediately
became a rout as they ran for cover with the mules close behind. Fortunately, they were finally able to sufficiently
outdistance their pursuers. The mules, however, were not so fortunate."

author unknown, an online account

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from buckslayer911 wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

its hard for me to think that i would not try to save my dog because i love her to death and when your in the heat of the situation you dont think right. very sad

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from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Elmer Fudd

Do really think Mother Nature really gives a rip what you think!!!

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from jersey pig wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

if i took the time to think about it i probably wouldn't do anything overly crazy to save my dog but i'm pretty sure that when the excrement hits the ventilator i'm gonna go pretty far before i stop to think about how dumb it might be.

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from idahooutdoors wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

While I would do everything possible to save my dog, I would take my safety into consideration, not just for my own sake, but because I have kids and a family that depend on me, and leaving them on their own for my dog wouldn't be justified. Not that I wouldn't try almost anything to save my dog, since I know he would fight to the death for me....

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from dogwood wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

It's a good thing dogs can't read these comments. Trueman, a lab, helped save his owner earlier this week down in Florida when the duckboat turned over. James Henson, a Marietta, Ga. dentist, had his boat capsize in frigid water. His dog was pushing him to shore when he could no longer swim. A boat rescued him just before hitting shore. He had been in the water 45 minutes.
http://www.ajc.com/news/cobb/marietta-man-dog-survive-267743.html

"Next to a dog, man's best friend is a book. Inside a dog, it's too dark to read." Groucho Marx

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from Robert Ewing wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

My brothers and I went through the ice several times growing up,no one called us stupid for pulling the other out.I may have shown some regret at pulling my older brother out,but I'll never regret answering the call.I would ,without a doubt make a effort to save my dog.
Besides I still talk to my dog as much as he talks to me.

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from Robert Ewing wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Just a thought ,maybe next issue F&S can redesign the waterfowl lanyard in the current issue so that it will zip out for a rescue line.

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from Lyne Rabern wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

In today's paper there was a story of a guy who was goose hunting on the Missouri River near Pierre, S.D. His dog fell though the ice going to retrieve a goose and appeared not to be able to get back out. The man went in to get his dog out and couldn't get back out. Luckily for the guy there was three hunters close by;two had just got there and had a rope. They were able to get him out and use a cell phone to call for help. he was treated and released a day later. The dog got out by himself. Would I have gone out for my dog? Maybe the question should be; Would I put myself and my dog in that dangerous a positon? I don't think so.

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from Elmer Fudd wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

>Do really think Mother Nature really gives
>a rip what you think!!!

well, I'm pretty sure I didnt deserve that, but I'll ask you what you are talking about?

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

For all the reasons stated, I try to keep my dog away from deep water ice.

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from steve182 wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

I once gave a distraught Duck Hunter a ride home after his john'boat sank quickly in rough freezing water, the dog, clipped in, sank with it. He dove under several times, in waders and attempted to save the dog. The dog did not make it and the hunter is very lucky he did. He was nearly hypothermic, and very distraught. It was very sad. Not only was he heartbroken over the loss of a good hunting partner, but worried how he was going to tell his kids. Too sad. Another lesson, he was hunting alone. Lucky to be alive.

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from Dave DiBenedetto wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

steve182, That story gives me the chills just thinking about it. -D

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from Spencer Tomb wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

We had a close call with our first golden once and I have been very careful since that time. I had waders and a splitting maul in my truck and when I got to the dog he was very tired and I had about two inches left before the water was over my waders. He was very cautious on ice after that and so was I.

I have not let a dog out on ice since that time, and I do not hunt holes on the river in the late season unless I have a long down stream sand bar to get a dog out of the current. My dogs are a part of the family. I can see how it happened. It is very, very sad.

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from Pheasant Hunter wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

I have my Chocolate lab, and she has been with me for a long time, through thick and thin. I have a wife and two wonderful girls, but I would have a extremely hard time not going after my dog. I live in WI, and all my waterfowl hunting involves a boat, therefore a life jacket. I would pray I could come up with a relatively safe way to save my dog. I wouldn't put my dog above my girls, but in a lot of ways I think of my lab almost the same. Horrible position for any person to be put in.
FYI alot of people in this neck of the woods have drown trying to save their dogs that went out on rivers and fell in. That story hits the MN/WI papers at least twice every year.

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from lifesaving wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

During the past several winters, approximately 85% of the ice rescue incidents requiring response by First Responders were triggered by pet owners or other Good Samaritans going out onto the ice in an attempt to save their own or someone else's pet. Unfortunately, this has resulted in numerous deaths or serious injuries, not only of the public, but also of First Responders.

We have made numerous attempts to communicate this information to the Humane Society of the U.S.A. as well as to several local Humane Societies; but it appears they are too entrenched in their fund-raising efforts rather than to get on board to educate the public about the need to keep pets under control and off the ice. Most importantly, if a domestic animal does fall through the ice, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO RESCUE THE ANIMAL YOURSELF!!! Rather, call 911 with the hope that trained and equipped First Responders will respond to effect the rescue.

However, not all Fire, Rescue, Law Enforcement or EMS agencies are trained and/or equipped for domestic animal rescue on or through the ice. And, many First Responder Agencies have policies in place that prohibit their personnel from placing themselves at risk in an attempt to save an animal. But, realistically, if the First Responders do not safely and effectively respond, then the pet owner or other Good Samaritans will most likely attempt a rescue which could then deteriorate into a single or multiple human rescue and/or fatality.

According to NFPA 1670 Standard for Technical Rescue, the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) should assess the physical hazards and risks that exist within the community. This would include all bodies of water, especially in the northern states. The AHJ must then PLAN for the incident; TRAIN for the incident; and acquire the resources required to MANAGE the incident.

Lifesaving Resources Inc. (LRI) is dedicated to drowning and aquatic injury prevention and emergency management. The company develops Aquatics Safety, Lifeguarding, Water Rescue, Swiftwater Rescue, and Ice Rescue training curriculums, and conducts this training throughout North America for the Public Safety and Rescue, as well as the Lifeguard and Aquatic Recreation Sectors. During each winter, Lifesaving Resources conducts a series of ICE RESCUE TECHNICIAN courses that are specifically designed to provide First Responders with the skills and knowledge required to safely and effectively respond to incidents on and through the ice. The curriculum includes information, skills and equipment required to respond to large and small animal rescues as well. In addition to the Technician level courses, LRI also conducts an annual ICE RESCUE TRAIN-THE-TRAINER ACADEMY for the purpose of training and authorizing instructors for First Responder agencies as Ice Rescue Instructors, who can then go back to their own departments to train their personnel in Ice Rescue AWARENESS, OPERATIONS, or TECHNICIAN levels.

LRI also advocates that besides the training, all First Responder agencies should be equipped with Ice Rescue Suits and pet control devices, such as a Ketch-All device, which consists of a rigid pole with a sling to snare the animal, therefore preventing direct contact between the rescuer and the animal and keeps the animal at a safe distance away from the rescuer and his/her rescue equipment. There have been numerous instances when First Responders have been seriously injured by the animal when the rescuer got too close to the animal during an attempted rescue. Being equipped with the appropriate tools will prevent this type of incident from occurring. We've encouraged Humane Societies to develop position papers to encourage the training and preparation of First Responder Agencies for domestic animal rescue, and to equip these agencies with the appropriate tools that will allow them to safely and effectively respond to these types of incidents.

The 2010 series of ICE RESCUE TECHNICIAN COURSES being conducted by Lifesaving Resources Inc. include the following:

• Saturday, January 23, 2010

• Saturday, February 06, 2010

• Saturday, March 06, 2010

These courses are conducted at the Lifesaving Resources' Water and Ice Rescue Training Center in historic Harrisville, New Hampshire, located in the Monadnock Region of the state. These courses are intensive one-day training courses, conducted from 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM, and include 3-hours of classroom training and 5-hours of on/through-the-ice practical sessions.

The annual ICE RESCUE TRAIN-THE-TRAINER ACADEMY is conducted at Boston University's Sargent Center for Outdoor Education, located in Hancock, New Hampshire, February 18 - 21.

For more information, access the Lifesaving Resources' extensive and award-winning website at www.lifesaving.com or contact Lifesaving Resources at 603.827.4139. Meanwhile, remember, NO ICE IS SAFE ICE!

Gerald M. Dworkin
Consultant, Aquatics Safety and Water Rescue
Lifesaving Resources Inc.
http://www.lifesaving.com
Harrisville, NH
603/827-4139

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Many of you have seen the old photos in my profile that I put in there some time ago. Click on the one with the big whitetail and the goose "that damn near killed me" circa 1986. I had this exact near-tragedy happen to me. Ethyl, the lab in the photo, and I were late getting up and out to the goose lagoon on time. Saw the flock leaving just as we were crossing the down river about two miles down river. Then I heard another honk and spied a lone goose on the ice about half way between us and the flock. He didn't leave. I elected to sneak around through the brush and, if I could, get the drop on it and nail him on the ice. If the ice was unsafe, I'd simply wait for it to break up and pick the bird up downstream. The hydro dam fifteen miles upstream was just starting to generate for the morning power demand and the rising, warmer water was already bringing ice floes in the current (recall that warmer water sinks to generators). When I finally popped my head up to take a peak, that goose was looking right at me and he was right out to the edge of the ice. Perhaps he heard us. Ordinarily, I would tie up the Ethyl with a shoe lace before shooting near dangerous ice (a shoelace was more than enough to control her), but I had to make a snap decision. Figured I was close enough to kill him right on the ice which appeared to be pretty thick. I did kill him but he had just enough gas left to flop in the water. Ethyl was off like a shot and there was no use hollering at her. Into the water she went. She was a small dog and had been able to get back up on the ice several times at the adjacent pond, but it was shallow and no current to speak of. Also, she knew she could swim to the creeks at both ends and get out there. The current in the river was swift and it kept pulling her back so she couldn't get a grip. If she'd dropped the goose I'm sure she'd have been able to pull herself up. But, of course, that was out of the question for Ethyl. She began to struggle so I directed her downstream where I knew she could get out on a gravel bar. But an ice floe hit her in the back of the head and she began to panic. In seconds she was floundering and almost vertical. Without even thinking, I headed onto the ice, stomping and pounding with my gun stock to break through. I quickly came to my senses after I was about knee deep. Ethyl was in fifteen feet of fast-moving icy water. I DID NOT want to break through there or I'd be pulled under. She could see I was coming and managed to get a grip on the ice edge and stopped struggling. Can still see the whites of her eyes as she watched me. I hollered to her that I was coming, turned and tossed my gun and super heavy parka full of shells onto shore, then crawled out on the ice. She was about twenty yards away. I spread eagle and moved slowly but earnestly - Ethyl could give out at any second. When I got out to her I distinctly remember the gurgle of the water ripping under the ice and glancing down to see bubbles racing by my face. But my attention was focussed on that dog and hers was on me. I reached out and curled the fingers of my right hand over the edge of the ice for a grip. It wasn't an inch thick. Then with my left hand I grabbed Ethyl by the scruff of the neck and rolled on my right side as I pulled her up. In a second she was on the ice again and it went CRACK! She had the wherewithal to run like hell for the bank. Or maybe it was the hand of God. I held my breath as I inched back, again slowly but earnestly. I looked over my shoulder and saw Ethyl on shore, still holding that big honker, standing there frozen as she watched my every move intently. There is no doubt in my mind that if I'd gone in, she'd been after me in a flash. What a sense of relief when I felt my feet slip back into the water and onto the gravel a few feet from shore. A wag of the tail, a pat on the head, and I took the goose, put on my parka, picked up my gun, and we took off for home at quick time - it was minus twenty. About half way to the bridge I turned and looked back. That entire sheet of ice was gone!!

You guys can say I was an idiot, but here's how it stacked up: I made a mistake, my dog did what she was supposed to do. I don't let anyone pay for my mistakes. Never. Certainly not the most loving and dedicated creature God ever put on this earth. There was no thought process involved once I took the shot. It was all instinct. But thinking about it now, I'm not sure I could have lived with myself had I let Ethyl die. In the Army I decided not to take a risk and a little girl died. I get no satisfaction knowing that I am still alive. She is dead. Maybe she didn't need to die. What would she have done with her life? She never got a chance because I wouldn't take one. I'm telling you, it is hard to live with that. There are some things worse than dying.

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from stanleyda wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

some times we do things we can't take back,When I was 12years old I had a lab mix.The dog and I spent every minute together unless I was in school.One afternoon I had been throwing a ball for him to retrive across our long driveway into a field.I looked up and saw my uncle turn into our drive without thinking I threw the ball and started to meet him.As the ball left my hand I knew what I had done but I could'nt stop whitey. My uncle was looking at me and did'nt see the dog crossing the drive and ran over him killing the dog.Sometimes our body gets ahead of the brain,it still pains me.My prayers are with the family. Losing a dog hurts but losing a child can kill you.I know my only Son died 13 months ago.God,family and hunting,are all that help keep me going.Many days that does'nt seem to be enough.Be easy on this family most have no idea what they are going through.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

I know well enough, Stan. My only son died in his sleep on 19 December. He was only 14. It's hell, isn't it.

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from stanleyda wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

Ontario Honker, I've been away for a week or so and didn't read your comment till now.It is hell and if some one has not been thru a loss like this there is no way for them to know, I didn't till now, I wish with everything in me I had not found out.My son was 24,he hadn't felt well but still worked a full week just thinking it was a bad cold.He died in his sleep two days later,Dec 21. They could only tell us it was something with his heart made worse by a respiratory infection.I'm so sorry for your loss.Let me know if you would like to talk more.

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from cindypiep wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

I think going onto broken ice to try to save his dog was a knee jerk reaction just like swerving to hit a deer.
Any "decent" human being would not want to leave their
pet in a situation like that. This is a very tragic
story and my prayers go out to the family of these boys.

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from Dave DiBenedetto wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

OntarioHonk and stanleyda- I haven't been back to this post for a week or more (the problem with a blog is that you're always thinking about the next post), but my condolences to you both. You guys are going through pain like I don't know...hang in there. And let us know how we can help keep your mind off of things if you need it. - Dave

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from stanleyda wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

Dave Dibenedetto, thanks for the kind words.I only found this blog after Jason's death and it has helped.Hunting season was hard because we always hunted so much together.There are no words to explain how setting in stands we put up together and food plots we planted together,on land that I bought for us to hunt was.I took him with me always even when he was little. He killed his first buck at 8years old.He was my only child and that which I loved over all else.Iam thankful he knew it as well.Thanks again, God Bless

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from buckhunter wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

As much as it pains me to say it, I would not risk death for my dog. I have a wife and 3 kids to consider and besides I think my dog would want it that way.

A very tragic story.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

I would hope that I would not have to risk my life to save my dog on ice, but one never knows.

A few years ago, a neighbor kid was at our place and threw a rock onto our frozen pond ( which is 3 to 12 feet deep) and my wife's golden retriever went out onto the ice and promptly fell through and could not get out of the hole. One of the teenage boys there quickly put the little paddle boat onto the ice and pushed it across with a paddle and when he nearly reached the dog, the ice gave way! He then pulled the dog into the boat and broke the ice along the way back to the bank and never even got his shoes wet! Smart kid!

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from pinopolis wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Tough to say what I would do in that situation, but it's hard to imagine that I wouldn't try save my dog. My heart goes out to the family.

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from Jeff Bowers wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

It's a tough call. Nobody does those things intending to die. Situations just go bad sometimes. It's a horrible way for the family to end the holidays.

It's reflexes. The best intentions, but a moment to think could have made a different outcome.

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from babsfish4life wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

I would have taken the time to think of a better rescue plan. I would assume a dog would be able to last quite some time in the water. I would attempt to save my dog but I wouldn't risk my life as much as they did. I won't criticize them for their actions, but I wouldn't do that.

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from Bella wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Harsh, very harsh, condolences to the suffering family. Ice is tricky, one should never attempt an ice rescue without equipment, at least ropes and extension ladders. It is much too easy to die a very very cold death. Best to call the pro's if they can get there in time, If there is no time, one still needs to get rescue gear of whatever kind is appropriate. Dogs are usually tougher than people, and while we hate it when we loose a dog, it is nothing to what that poor family is going through.

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from Brittle wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

maybe i would creep out and if the ice got bad i would go back but i wouldnt jump in a lake in winter here in wisconsin

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from seadog wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

I'd go pretty far to save my dog, but I'm not sure what I'd do in this situation. I'm like a fish out of water on a frozen lake--I don't think I would go out on the ice. If the danger was more familiar to me, like an alligator attack, I'd be more inclined to take a risk.

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from jamesti wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

i would be too tempted to go after my dog. i really believe i would go after him. no way i would watch him struggle. he would give all for me so why not? what did that guy think the dog would do? just a bad situation all around.

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from pinopolis wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Tough to say what I would do in that situation, but it's hard to imagine that I wouldn't try save my dog. My heart goes out to the family.

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from dukkillr wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

I agree with the rest of the guys. Of course I'm going to try to save my dog, but if it involves risking my own life then I'm going to back off.

The tragic part is that the dog ended up surviving...without their help. Needless deaths are always heartbreaking.

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from MLH wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Terrible thing to happen. Hard to put oneself into another's shoes in a situation like that. I would have tried something to save a dog and anything to save a brother.

Years ago we hit a swimming hole with the dogs. As we were leaving I casually threw a rock into the lake. One of the dogs just went in after it. He kept swimming around looking for it. I kept calling but he wouldn't come in. He started to tire and was whining. I finally thought to throw in a stick. He found that and brought it back to me. Also reminded me of the waterfowl hunter that threw a stick of dynamite out on the ice to blow out a hole. His lab naturally fetched it. They shot at the dog to keep him away, but it ran under their truck. Blew a hole in the ice all right. But they lost their dog, their truck, and all their gear. A CO told me this was a true story. Retrievers retrieve so I am cautious about throwing anything around them.

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from Walt Smith wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

There is only one answer to the question, that is NO! I love dogs as much as anyone, but this one is a no brainer Bubba!!

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from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Reminds me of when RiffRaff (German Shorthair) was just a pup in April of 87. Had him out 4 wheeling and he ran up on a snow bank a jumped off onto a water hole covered by thin ice and snow and busted thru. Talk about a pup jumping up on my ATV scared, wet and cold! I sat him in front of me and covered him up in my Columbia Gortex Parka and I had a cold ride home I did, LOL! He stayed toasty warm!

Got to take care of my buddy you know!

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from blackdawgz wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Certainly, I have taken maximum risk for my dawg. But there are unanswered questions here...The entire scenario suggests that these guys were never the sharpest knives in the drawer anyhow. What was the purpose of throwing the rock, if not to bait the dog. Why didn't they call him back? The local lakes are at 43 degrees. I have swum them from one end to the other 1/4 mile one way), and only had to crawl out. I can't tell that manual dexterity had anything to do with it. How would that affect getting out of the ice? The obvious thing to do is to break ice with your fist until your feet reach bottom. Repat until you get ashore.Had they been drinking? Certainly, just because someone buys a Chessie, it doesn't mean they're stupid. Or does it? Those people were obviously abusing that dog, and should be investigated for Felony Animal Abuse. Hunting situations can be deadly. There is no humor in watching your dog struggle for his life. Even if he is a Chesapeake.

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from gman3186 wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

with a doubt my dog would do anything he could to help me so i would do the same to help him

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from idahooutdoors wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

While I would do everything possible to save my dog, I would take my safety into consideration, not just for my own sake, but because I have kids and a family that depend on me, and leaving them on their own for my dog wouldn't be justified. Not that I wouldn't try almost anything to save my dog, since I know he would fight to the death for me....

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from steve182 wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

I once gave a distraught Duck Hunter a ride home after his john'boat sank quickly in rough freezing water, the dog, clipped in, sank with it. He dove under several times, in waders and attempted to save the dog. The dog did not make it and the hunter is very lucky he did. He was nearly hypothermic, and very distraught. It was very sad. Not only was he heartbroken over the loss of a good hunting partner, but worried how he was going to tell his kids. Too sad. Another lesson, he was hunting alone. Lucky to be alive.

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from lifesaving wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

During the past several winters, approximately 85% of the ice rescue incidents requiring response by First Responders were triggered by pet owners or other Good Samaritans going out onto the ice in an attempt to save their own or someone else's pet. Unfortunately, this has resulted in numerous deaths or serious injuries, not only of the public, but also of First Responders.

We have made numerous attempts to communicate this information to the Humane Society of the U.S.A. as well as to several local Humane Societies; but it appears they are too entrenched in their fund-raising efforts rather than to get on board to educate the public about the need to keep pets under control and off the ice. Most importantly, if a domestic animal does fall through the ice, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO RESCUE THE ANIMAL YOURSELF!!! Rather, call 911 with the hope that trained and equipped First Responders will respond to effect the rescue.

However, not all Fire, Rescue, Law Enforcement or EMS agencies are trained and/or equipped for domestic animal rescue on or through the ice. And, many First Responder Agencies have policies in place that prohibit their personnel from placing themselves at risk in an attempt to save an animal. But, realistically, if the First Responders do not safely and effectively respond, then the pet owner or other Good Samaritans will most likely attempt a rescue which could then deteriorate into a single or multiple human rescue and/or fatality.

According to NFPA 1670 Standard for Technical Rescue, the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) should assess the physical hazards and risks that exist within the community. This would include all bodies of water, especially in the northern states. The AHJ must then PLAN for the incident; TRAIN for the incident; and acquire the resources required to MANAGE the incident.

Lifesaving Resources Inc. (LRI) is dedicated to drowning and aquatic injury prevention and emergency management. The company develops Aquatics Safety, Lifeguarding, Water Rescue, Swiftwater Rescue, and Ice Rescue training curriculums, and conducts this training throughout North America for the Public Safety and Rescue, as well as the Lifeguard and Aquatic Recreation Sectors. During each winter, Lifesaving Resources conducts a series of ICE RESCUE TECHNICIAN courses that are specifically designed to provide First Responders with the skills and knowledge required to safely and effectively respond to incidents on and through the ice. The curriculum includes information, skills and equipment required to respond to large and small animal rescues as well. In addition to the Technician level courses, LRI also conducts an annual ICE RESCUE TRAIN-THE-TRAINER ACADEMY for the purpose of training and authorizing instructors for First Responder agencies as Ice Rescue Instructors, who can then go back to their own departments to train their personnel in Ice Rescue AWARENESS, OPERATIONS, or TECHNICIAN levels.

LRI also advocates that besides the training, all First Responder agencies should be equipped with Ice Rescue Suits and pet control devices, such as a Ketch-All device, which consists of a rigid pole with a sling to snare the animal, therefore preventing direct contact between the rescuer and the animal and keeps the animal at a safe distance away from the rescuer and his/her rescue equipment. There have been numerous instances when First Responders have been seriously injured by the animal when the rescuer got too close to the animal during an attempted rescue. Being equipped with the appropriate tools will prevent this type of incident from occurring. We've encouraged Humane Societies to develop position papers to encourage the training and preparation of First Responder Agencies for domestic animal rescue, and to equip these agencies with the appropriate tools that will allow them to safely and effectively respond to these types of incidents.

The 2010 series of ICE RESCUE TECHNICIAN COURSES being conducted by Lifesaving Resources Inc. include the following:

• Saturday, January 23, 2010

• Saturday, February 06, 2010

• Saturday, March 06, 2010

These courses are conducted at the Lifesaving Resources' Water and Ice Rescue Training Center in historic Harrisville, New Hampshire, located in the Monadnock Region of the state. These courses are intensive one-day training courses, conducted from 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM, and include 3-hours of classroom training and 5-hours of on/through-the-ice practical sessions.

The annual ICE RESCUE TRAIN-THE-TRAINER ACADEMY is conducted at Boston University's Sargent Center for Outdoor Education, located in Hancock, New Hampshire, February 18 - 21.

For more information, access the Lifesaving Resources' extensive and award-winning website at www.lifesaving.com or contact Lifesaving Resources at 603.827.4139. Meanwhile, remember, NO ICE IS SAFE ICE!

Gerald M. Dworkin
Consultant, Aquatics Safety and Water Rescue
Lifesaving Resources Inc.
http://www.lifesaving.com
Harrisville, NH
603/827-4139

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Many of you have seen the old photos in my profile that I put in there some time ago. Click on the one with the big whitetail and the goose "that damn near killed me" circa 1986. I had this exact near-tragedy happen to me. Ethyl, the lab in the photo, and I were late getting up and out to the goose lagoon on time. Saw the flock leaving just as we were crossing the down river about two miles down river. Then I heard another honk and spied a lone goose on the ice about half way between us and the flock. He didn't leave. I elected to sneak around through the brush and, if I could, get the drop on it and nail him on the ice. If the ice was unsafe, I'd simply wait for it to break up and pick the bird up downstream. The hydro dam fifteen miles upstream was just starting to generate for the morning power demand and the rising, warmer water was already bringing ice floes in the current (recall that warmer water sinks to generators). When I finally popped my head up to take a peak, that goose was looking right at me and he was right out to the edge of the ice. Perhaps he heard us. Ordinarily, I would tie up the Ethyl with a shoe lace before shooting near dangerous ice (a shoelace was more than enough to control her), but I had to make a snap decision. Figured I was close enough to kill him right on the ice which appeared to be pretty thick. I did kill him but he had just enough gas left to flop in the water. Ethyl was off like a shot and there was no use hollering at her. Into the water she went. She was a small dog and had been able to get back up on the ice several times at the adjacent pond, but it was shallow and no current to speak of. Also, she knew she could swim to the creeks at both ends and get out there. The current in the river was swift and it kept pulling her back so she couldn't get a grip. If she'd dropped the goose I'm sure she'd have been able to pull herself up. But, of course, that was out of the question for Ethyl. She began to struggle so I directed her downstream where I knew she could get out on a gravel bar. But an ice floe hit her in the back of the head and she began to panic. In seconds she was floundering and almost vertical. Without even thinking, I headed onto the ice, stomping and pounding with my gun stock to break through. I quickly came to my senses after I was about knee deep. Ethyl was in fifteen feet of fast-moving icy water. I DID NOT want to break through there or I'd be pulled under. She could see I was coming and managed to get a grip on the ice edge and stopped struggling. Can still see the whites of her eyes as she watched me. I hollered to her that I was coming, turned and tossed my gun and super heavy parka full of shells onto shore, then crawled out on the ice. She was about twenty yards away. I spread eagle and moved slowly but earnestly - Ethyl could give out at any second. When I got out to her I distinctly remember the gurgle of the water ripping under the ice and glancing down to see bubbles racing by my face. But my attention was focussed on that dog and hers was on me. I reached out and curled the fingers of my right hand over the edge of the ice for a grip. It wasn't an inch thick. Then with my left hand I grabbed Ethyl by the scruff of the neck and rolled on my right side as I pulled her up. In a second she was on the ice again and it went CRACK! She had the wherewithal to run like hell for the bank. Or maybe it was the hand of God. I held my breath as I inched back, again slowly but earnestly. I looked over my shoulder and saw Ethyl on shore, still holding that big honker, standing there frozen as she watched my every move intently. There is no doubt in my mind that if I'd gone in, she'd been after me in a flash. What a sense of relief when I felt my feet slip back into the water and onto the gravel a few feet from shore. A wag of the tail, a pat on the head, and I took the goose, put on my parka, picked up my gun, and we took off for home at quick time - it was minus twenty. About half way to the bridge I turned and looked back. That entire sheet of ice was gone!!

You guys can say I was an idiot, but here's how it stacked up: I made a mistake, my dog did what she was supposed to do. I don't let anyone pay for my mistakes. Never. Certainly not the most loving and dedicated creature God ever put on this earth. There was no thought process involved once I took the shot. It was all instinct. But thinking about it now, I'm not sure I could have lived with myself had I let Ethyl die. In the Army I decided not to take a risk and a little girl died. I get no satisfaction knowing that I am still alive. She is dead. Maybe she didn't need to die. What would she have done with her life? She never got a chance because I wouldn't take one. I'm telling you, it is hard to live with that. There are some things worse than dying.

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from stanleyda wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

some times we do things we can't take back,When I was 12years old I had a lab mix.The dog and I spent every minute together unless I was in school.One afternoon I had been throwing a ball for him to retrive across our long driveway into a field.I looked up and saw my uncle turn into our drive without thinking I threw the ball and started to meet him.As the ball left my hand I knew what I had done but I could'nt stop whitey. My uncle was looking at me and did'nt see the dog crossing the drive and ran over him killing the dog.Sometimes our body gets ahead of the brain,it still pains me.My prayers are with the family. Losing a dog hurts but losing a child can kill you.I know my only Son died 13 months ago.God,family and hunting,are all that help keep me going.Many days that does'nt seem to be enough.Be easy on this family most have no idea what they are going through.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

I know well enough, Stan. My only son died in his sleep on 19 December. He was only 14. It's hell, isn't it.

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from stanleyda wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

Ontario Honker, I've been away for a week or so and didn't read your comment till now.It is hell and if some one has not been thru a loss like this there is no way for them to know, I didn't till now, I wish with everything in me I had not found out.My son was 24,he hadn't felt well but still worked a full week just thinking it was a bad cold.He died in his sleep two days later,Dec 21. They could only tell us it was something with his heart made worse by a respiratory infection.I'm so sorry for your loss.Let me know if you would like to talk more.

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from Dave DiBenedetto wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

OntarioHonk and stanleyda- I haven't been back to this post for a week or more (the problem with a blog is that you're always thinking about the next post), but my condolences to you both. You guys are going through pain like I don't know...hang in there. And let us know how we can help keep your mind off of things if you need it. - Dave

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from stanleyda wrote 4 years 11 weeks ago

Dave Dibenedetto, thanks for the kind words.I only found this blog after Jason's death and it has helped.Hunting season was hard because we always hunted so much together.There are no words to explain how setting in stands we put up together and food plots we planted together,on land that I bought for us to hunt was.I took him with me always even when he was little. He killed his first buck at 8years old.He was my only child and that which I loved over all else.Iam thankful he knew it as well.Thanks again, God Bless

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from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

For one to do a foolish act can cost so much

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from IceClash wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

I wont know unless it comes to that which i hope it never will

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from IceClash wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

I wont know unless it comes to that which i hope it never will

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from kelmitch wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

I have a Radison canoe that I wish they had had with them.I will certainly take it with us!

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from kelmitch wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Always be prepared for the worst weather hunting or fishing!

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from Elmer Fudd wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

well, Clay, I know better than that and so do you, one reason is I have heard of this happenin before. But stupidity is not where I would place their actions. Not too many people realize how fast you can kiss your butt goodbye in that situation.

I have been boning up on George Rogers Clark and Rober Rogers too, those are some great Americans that pulled some cold water risking-it that has no explanation when you read about it, if you ask me.

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from Elmer Fudd wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

and General Forrest at Fort Donelson too, although explanation there might be using horses

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from WhitetailHunter706 wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

i would definetly try

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from WhitetailHunter706 wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

i would definetly try

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from Elmer Fudd wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

MLH, regarding the dynamite, there is a story in the Civil War in New Mexico

"There occurred that evening a rather strange episode when Paddy Graydon, a Union scout, undertook a little
mission designed to create havoc among the invading Texans. Graydon and one of his cohorts obtained two worn
out mules and strapped a large load of artillery shells upon them. The spies then quietly led the mules across the
river. When within a short distance from the rebel pickets, they lit the fuses and slapped the mules on their rumps
to send them running into the enemy lines. Graydon and his partner then made haste to get back across before all
hell broke loose. Hearing something behind them, they glanced over their shoulders expecting to see alert rebel
pickets chasing them. Their followers, however, were not Texans. The mules apparently decided that they did not
like the plan and instead turned around and followed their former leaders. The retreat of the scouts immediately
became a rout as they ran for cover with the mules close behind. Fortunately, they were finally able to sufficiently
outdistance their pursuers. The mules, however, were not so fortunate."

author unknown, an online account

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from buckslayer911 wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

its hard for me to think that i would not try to save my dog because i love her to death and when your in the heat of the situation you dont think right. very sad

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from jersey pig wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

if i took the time to think about it i probably wouldn't do anything overly crazy to save my dog but i'm pretty sure that when the excrement hits the ventilator i'm gonna go pretty far before i stop to think about how dumb it might be.

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from dogwood wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

It's a good thing dogs can't read these comments. Trueman, a lab, helped save his owner earlier this week down in Florida when the duckboat turned over. James Henson, a Marietta, Ga. dentist, had his boat capsize in frigid water. His dog was pushing him to shore when he could no longer swim. A boat rescued him just before hitting shore. He had been in the water 45 minutes.
http://www.ajc.com/news/cobb/marietta-man-dog-survive-267743.html

"Next to a dog, man's best friend is a book. Inside a dog, it's too dark to read." Groucho Marx

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from Robert Ewing wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

My brothers and I went through the ice several times growing up,no one called us stupid for pulling the other out.I may have shown some regret at pulling my older brother out,but I'll never regret answering the call.I would ,without a doubt make a effort to save my dog.
Besides I still talk to my dog as much as he talks to me.

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from Robert Ewing wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Just a thought ,maybe next issue F&S can redesign the waterfowl lanyard in the current issue so that it will zip out for a rescue line.

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from Lyne Rabern wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

In today's paper there was a story of a guy who was goose hunting on the Missouri River near Pierre, S.D. His dog fell though the ice going to retrieve a goose and appeared not to be able to get back out. The man went in to get his dog out and couldn't get back out. Luckily for the guy there was three hunters close by;two had just got there and had a rope. They were able to get him out and use a cell phone to call for help. he was treated and released a day later. The dog got out by himself. Would I have gone out for my dog? Maybe the question should be; Would I put myself and my dog in that dangerous a positon? I don't think so.

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from Elmer Fudd wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

>Do really think Mother Nature really gives
>a rip what you think!!!

well, I'm pretty sure I didnt deserve that, but I'll ask you what you are talking about?

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

For all the reasons stated, I try to keep my dog away from deep water ice.

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from Dave DiBenedetto wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

steve182, That story gives me the chills just thinking about it. -D

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from Spencer Tomb wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

We had a close call with our first golden once and I have been very careful since that time. I had waders and a splitting maul in my truck and when I got to the dog he was very tired and I had about two inches left before the water was over my waders. He was very cautious on ice after that and so was I.

I have not let a dog out on ice since that time, and I do not hunt holes on the river in the late season unless I have a long down stream sand bar to get a dog out of the current. My dogs are a part of the family. I can see how it happened. It is very, very sad.

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from Pheasant Hunter wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

I have my Chocolate lab, and she has been with me for a long time, through thick and thin. I have a wife and two wonderful girls, but I would have a extremely hard time not going after my dog. I live in WI, and all my waterfowl hunting involves a boat, therefore a life jacket. I would pray I could come up with a relatively safe way to save my dog. I wouldn't put my dog above my girls, but in a lot of ways I think of my lab almost the same. Horrible position for any person to be put in.
FYI alot of people in this neck of the woods have drown trying to save their dogs that went out on rivers and fell in. That story hits the MN/WI papers at least twice every year.

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from cindypiep wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

I think going onto broken ice to try to save his dog was a knee jerk reaction just like swerving to hit a deer.
Any "decent" human being would not want to leave their
pet in a situation like that. This is a very tragic
story and my prayers go out to the family of these boys.

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from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

DITTO Bella thank you

saying that

Nature has a sure way of dealing with stupidity!

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from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Elmer Fudd

Do really think Mother Nature really gives a rip what you think!!!

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