A pair of firefighters saved a senior pup from a slippery situation on New Year’s Eve.
Hours before ringing in the new year, a 14-year-old pooch named Oscar got off his leash and thought it would be a smashing idea to step out onto Michigan’s frozen Lake Orion.
The black Lab, who has weakness in his back legs, wandered onto a slippery part of the ice, fell, and could not get up again, according to Christopher Hagan of the Orion Township Fire Department.
Captain Dan White and firefighter Steve Martin answered the rescue call, donning cold water rescue suits and walking out more than 250 feet on the ice to help save Oscar.
“We have over 40 lakes in our township so it’s not uncommon to get the curious pet to wander out on to the ice,” White tells PEOPLE in an email. “We’ve trained for cold water rescues and how to react in case the ice did give way. So I was extremely confident in my and firefighter Martin’s abilities to get the animal.”
Thankfully, neither White nor Martin fell into the lake and they retrieved the pup without incident — and, Oscar, he was home in plenty of time to watch the Times Square ball drop.
“To many people pets are like children and members of the family. We know how much they mean to our residents,” White says. “You really feel a sense of pride being able to help someone in this situation and this is what we’re here for. This is their tax dollars at work.”
“All in all it was a good day,” White adds, “and we hope Oscar is plenty warm.”
The Orion Township Fire Department would like to remind the public to never assume the ice is safe, no matter the weather. If you see a person or an animal out on the ice struggling, call 911 immediately to get the professionals on site.