Warm-hearted rescuers brave frigid N.S. lake for stranded dog
HALIFAX -- Two Nova Scotia men are credited with saving a stray dog stranded on a partially frozen lake in Digby County Sunday and now the dog is looking for its home.
The dog had been spotted wandering around North Range, N.S. for a week and seemed to have no owner.
Then on Sunday afternoon, residents living on the shores of Haines Lake noticed the dog standing on a patch of ice about 600 metres from shore – too frightened to move. It had been there for several hours when locals banded together to rescue it.
The dog had been standing on a patch of ice about 600 metres from shore – too frightened to move. It had been there for several hours when locals banded together to rescue it. (COURTESY ZANE LYNCH)
At first, a kayaker tried to reach the dog but was unsuccessful. So, boat builder Nathaniel Denton and lobster fisherman Michael Titus sprang into action.
Denton donned a dry suit, and the pair hopped into Titus' canoe to paddle out to the dog.
Videotaping from above was a drone operated by Zane Lynch, owner of Drone & Co., who had tried to lure the petrified pooch to shore using a dangling hot dog. However, the canine wouldn't budge.
"We paddled out to see how the dog would react," says Denton, "to see if we could scare it to shore."
But as they paddled closer, the dog would only slowly back away. So Denton decided to take things further, and got into the frigid water.
In water well over his head, Denton began swimming toward the dog, breaking the ice along the way.
"I just kept working my way towards it," says Denton. "In all I ended up having to smash around 200 feet (of ice) before the dog would stop backing up."
Drone footage shows Denton making his way through the ice to reach the dog as it barks and watches warily.
Titus then paddled the canoe through the path in the ice to get closer to the animal.
DROPPED HOT DOGS TO ENTICE DOG
"Eventually (Nathaniel) had to push me right to the dog so I could grab it," says Titus. He had a little help from Lynch, who dropped hot dogs using his drone so that Titus could use them to entice the dog to come closer.
It worked, and Titus got the dog into the canoe. "She was scared, but she didn't try to jump out or anything," he says.
He started paddling to shore, with Denton swimming behind. The duo says the whole rescue took more than an hour.
Nathaniel Denton (left) and Michael Titus sprang into action when they noticed a dog stranded on a patch of ice in the middle of Digby County lake. (COURTESY ZANE LYNCH)
Fire and water rescue personnel from the surrounding area were on standby on shore, in case they were needed, along with a local RCMP officer.
Titus' wife, Carla, was also there to capture the rescuers' return to shore – and help take care of the tired pup, which was hungry, but otherwise seemed all right.
Denton, who had leaky wrist seals on his dry suit, was soaking wet and chilled, but okay.
This wasn't Denton's first animal rescue. About four years ago, while doing some work at the Digby wharf, he and a group of locals discovered a minke whale in the cove entangled in twine embedded into its skin. He helped cut the twine loose, and the whale swam free.
Carla Titus says she wasn't worried about her husband and Denton heading out onto the lake. "They're both very calm-natured guys, so when there is an emergency they are probably two of the best people to have around," she says. "There was no doubt that they would get it done."
As for the dog, an officer with Digby Municipal Dog Control was on shore to take the animal to the pound. Scott Cromwell says they are waiting to see if her owner comes forward, in case she is a lost pet.
But Cromwell says if she isn't claimed within five days, the dog will be put up for adoption, and he says he's already had plenty of calls from people interested in giving the so-called "lake dog" a forever home.
The Digby Municipal Dog Control was on shore to take the animal to the pound. Scott Cromwell says they are waiting to see if her owner comes forward, in case she is a lost pet. Cromwell says if she isn't claimed within five days, the dog will be put up for adoption. (FACEBOOK/DIGBY MUNICIPAL DOG CONTROL)
"My wife is actually interested in adopting her," laughs Denton, who says Titus' wife is also interested. "Seems like a very nice dog."
While the pair are now being hailed as local heroes, they remain humble. When asked how they knew what to do, their response?
"I don't know, that's just what we do," says Denton.