Husky Dog Rescued From Icy River

Story & Photos by Harlem-Roscoe Fire Photographer Sheryl Drost

January 13, 2010

A large white Husky named Shylo has tugged at the heart strings of every animal lover after he survived a fall into the icy currents of the Rock River on January 13.

It all started when a resident on Harbor Oaks Drive heard a dog howling coming from the river behind her home. She found a large white dog had fallen into the river and was now fighting the current and ice chunks to get back to the shore.

She quickly called for help and two Winnebago Co. Animal Control Services Officers and a Winnebago Sheriff's Officer were dispatched to the scene. The homeowner and the officers attempted to reach the dog by placing two ladders out onto the ice, but realized they were not safe and called the fire department.

Winnebago County Animal Control Services Sgt. Jimmy Lawson was able to throw a rope to the dog and Shylo clenched on to it immediately. Sgt. Lawson then pulled him to the ice shelf about 10 - 12 feet from shore, but Shylo was too tired to get his feet up on the ice . Sgt. Lawson was then able to get the rope around his neck and hold him out of the water against the ledge.

Harlem-Roscoe Firefighters arrived with their ice rescue equipment and knowledge and quickly went to work. Firefighter Christi Wilson, who is certified as a ice rescue technician and trainer, donned a Mustang cold water rescue suit and was attached to a safety rope. Shore operations involved firefighters manning the other other end of the safety rope. Christi belly crawled, in order to distribute her weight, out to the freezing Husky. "I kept telling him I gotcha, I gotcha puppy as he stared at me with those huge scared eyes." recalls Christi. Then as Christi grabbed his collar with one hand and reached under water to hang on to his body, she gave the order for the shore operations to pull, and both rescuer and dog were pulled quickly to shore.

Animal Control Officers and Harlem-Roscoe Paramedics dried him quickly before wrapping him in a blanket. Deputy Chief John Bergeron says, "Shylo definitely had the will to live and he was still clenching the rescue rope when he was safely on shore." Animal Control Officers then transported the rescued dog to the a local immediate care veterinarian clinic where Shylo's owners were reunited with their beloved pet. The owners report that Shylo has recovered from his ordeal and is doing very well.

The Husky's teeth still clenched onto the rescue rope even after he was safely on shore.