Just two days ago, Cooper told me he wanted to be somebody’s hero. Yesterday, he became our dog, Charlie’s. Actually, all of the boys worked together to keep their cool and save their doggie.
It was a gorgeous afternoon and we had yet to visit the pond since it had frozen over. While their favorite thing to do at the pond is swim, they also love to skip rocks over it when it is frozen and hear the echoy sound as they bounce across. So we bundled up and headed out for a walk.
Within seconds of being there the boys were skirting across the frozen water and Charlie was trying to go after them.
He walked across without problem, clearly thinking this was pretty fun!
He went to his usual spot on the rickety old dock and I told him to stay. Looking back, I feel like I didn’t have much sense in my head about the whole situation, but I did have the sense to tell him not to jump. I told him to stay, so he stayed, but just for a second.
Why did I not panic when I saw his back foot break through??
A split second after I took this photo of Charlie walking across the frozen pond, the ice broke and he fell in and could not climb out. I watched him for a moment, struggling to get out before running around the pond, dropping my camera, and grabbing a large branch to hit and try to further break the ice between him and me. I screamed at the boys to grab as big of rocks as they could to try to throw out into the 15 foot stretch of ice between us. I hit the ice with the branch, but it just broke so I ran for some big river rocks that line the drainage area from the pond. The boys did the same, I think.
I don’t even know how much time passed … how many times I hit the ice with other huge branches or how many big rocks we threw trying to break the ice. I was frantic. I absolutely thought we were going to watch our pup go under and not come back up. I kept thinking he’s going to die. I kept thinking my boys are going to watch their dog die. He was whimpering and shaking. I was screaming. Kaden was crying. Gage was throwing big rocks and encouraging Charlie. I kept thinking … Do we have a raft?? Who has a boat I can call? I can’t run up to the house to make a call. I don’t have my cell phone. Can I go out there on my belly? No, then we’d both be in the water. I was SO frantic. I know I just kept saying, “Boys!! I don’t know what to DO!! What do I do???”
Then Cooper shouted at me that we needed to get the extension ladder that was leaning on a structure near the pond. Brilliant. It was down across the lawn and driveway so I ran to it. Cooper behind me. I threw it over my shoulder, and I think Cooper picked up the rear as we ran it back up the hill and onto the dock. This dock scares me. It is rickety and old and I never let the boys go on it. I reached the extension ladder out as far as it could go and then battled with it to extend it further. Cooper stayed behind me on the dock holding down the back end.
And we pleaded … screamed and encouraged Charlie to get on it. Oh, his eyes. He stared at me and I just laid down toward the ice, resting on the ladder, and kept calling to him. He gripped onto the ice and stared at me. Friends, I don’t want to be mellow-dramatic, but seriously. This was crazy! He finally started to crawl up on it and I can still hear the shrieks of encouragement from the boys. He got up about 2/3 of the way, only for the extension portion to detach from the rest of the ladder. I tried to press my portion down on the separated part, but, the pressure of him pushing down on it made it slip away from me and down into the water.
But thank God … that pressure he put on the ladder also made the ice break as it fell and he was released from the small opening of water that he was stuck in! I continued to break the ice with the ladder that was left while Charlie swam toward me. He made it to me on the dock, I grabbed his collar to help him out. And I was never so happy to have him shake a body full of pond water all over me. Well, that never has made me happy … but yesterday, it sure did!
Afterward, my chest ached, I could hardly talk and my boys … my goodness … And Charlie? He did ‘Charlie Go Crazy’ around the lawn and then went right back to the edge of the pond to try again! Cooper put his lasso around his collar and we walked him home. The lasso only lasted a minute though because that puppy had a new lease on life and just wanted to run. 🙂
So, lesson’s learned:
1) Don’t be stupid like me and let your dog run on ice that you don’t know is 100% solid ice. I would absolutely not have let my boys walk out there so I absolutely should not have allowed Charlie to. Had he drowned, it would be totally been my fault.
2) Always have a smart, quick thinking kid with you. 🙂 I’m amazed at how relatively calm they all stayed and love that Cooper said he prayed and Gage said he stayed calm because he felt God tell him this would be okay. I felt none of those things and was just a complete lunatic! Their level heads and faithful hearts saved their pup. ♥
Thank you for reading. ♥