Early morning rescue saves dog, owner

Thursday, December 20, 2007 | 5:37 p.m. CST; updated 9:38 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

COLUMBIA — A Columbia woman and her golden retriever are safe after an early morning rescue Thursday from the icy waters of a private quarry lake on Lakeshore Drive.

Columbia Fire Department Chief Steven Sapp said that during her regular morning walk with her dogs, Kathy Brown noticed that her dog, Millie, had disappeared from view. The dogs weren’t on leashes, Sapp said.

Brown, who lives at 1107 Lakeshore Drive, backtracked to the quarry lake and found Millie struggling to escape a hole in the ice, Sapp said.

After she ran to a neighbor’s house just outside the quarry’s gates and asked a resident to call 911, Brown tried to rescue her dog. She broke through the ice, still close to shore, and found herself chest-deep in water, Sapp said.

The fire department arrived at 7:52 a.m., and found Brown resting on a snow-covered rock ledge still in the water, Sapp said.

“If she hadn’t called 911, she would have been at risk for severe hypothermia,” he said.

During Brown’s rescue, a firefighter pulled Millie out of the ice.

“This rescue was right up our alley of what we train to do,” Sapp said.

Brown was treated by University Hospital paramedics at the scene and refused further treatment, Sapp said. Millie recovered after 20 minutes in warm blankets and heat in the back of an ambulance.

Sapp had a warning for pet owners.

“We understand that pets are beloved by owners, but we ask that you don’t try to rescue your pet,” he said. He recommended calling for help and trying to calm the animal.

Millie’s was the third pet rescue in the county this week.

“When the ice is in the condition it’s in, we start to see this more often,” Sapp said. He asked pet owners to avoid areas with “rotten ice” and keeping animals on a leash when the possibility of thin ice exists.

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