Daring dog rescue

The Big White Fire Department had their hands full over the long weekend after a hiker spotted a dog stranded on the melting ice on Lake Paul next to the Powder chair.

The dog was on its last legs as it had been missing from the Candle Creek Kennels for five days when the hiker spotted the dog, cold, hungry and unable to swim on Monday afternoon.  

“He called 911 and we were paged out,” says Big White Fire Chief James Svendsen. “Basically, one of our guys swam out and got the dog. We harnessed him all up and he swam out with a rubber tire inner tube, put the dog in it, and brought him back to the shore.”

The rescue team managed to get the dog to shore and wrapped it in warm blankets and then put him in a heated truck to warm up. “Time was of the essence,” Svendsen says. “He was very stressed. I would say hypothermia was setting in. [The dog] would have died out there for sure.

“After he started warming up you could see the life coming back into his eyes.”

The dog was then reunited with its owners, who were beside themselves with joy, they had almost given up hope of finding their lost dog.

This story had a happy ending but Chief Svendsen reminds people hiking in the Big White area to keep their dogs on a leash while at the mountain. “It’s very dangerous up here right now,” he says. “There’s a lot of water running under the snow and the ice. Dogs off leash, they go running, and there’s lots of wildlife, so if they get distracted, they could easily fall through.”

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