"I saw the dog running around the ice and I thought that dog's going to fall in eventually – then it did!" Darcy Pell tells PEOPLE

By Phil Boucher
January 14, 2021 02:53 PM
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Credit: DMG Media Licensing

Darcy Pell just proved that man can also be a dog's best friend!

The 31-year-old security engineer was midway through a run around his local park in Yorkshire, England, on Saturday, when he suddenly found himself jumping into a frozen lake to rescue a black pooch who'd fallen through the ice.

"I saw the dog running around the ice and I thought that dog's going to fall in eventually – then it did!" Darcy, 31, tells PEOPLE from his home in the small town of Featherstone.

"I carried on my run for a couple of minutes but kept watching the dog, then just sort of decided that it wasn't going to get out, so I ran back toward the lake."

Without a moment's hesitation, Darcy jumped into the water fully clothed and gently made his way through the ice-cold water towards the stranded pet.

Viral footage captured by passerby Paula Town shows Darcy, wearing a black baseball cap and bright orange tee, gently helping the dog off the ice. He then calmly encourages the pooch towards the safety of the shoreline.

Credit: DMG Media Licensing

"I don't generally jump into ice water for fun, but I do triathlons and live in Yorkshire, so it's never really very warm," jokes Darcy about his amazing rescue. "I'm a strong swimmer, so it didn't really phase me. I just got in and used my body to break the ice because it was quite thick that day."

"I also know how my body is going to react to cold water and I know what your body is going through. I was out running too, so my outside was already cold. It probably wasn't as much of a shock to me as it would have been to somebody on the side in their normal clothes."

After climbing out of the water – which he says was "about six foot deep" – Darcy did something possibly even more remarkable: he handed over the dog, changed his T-shirt, and finished the rest of his run!

"I didn't want any fuss, so I just sort of got out and the dog ran off and then came back and shook its water on me," he laughs. "The owners thanked me, put a collar on the dog, then just carried on with their walk.

"A lot of people have made a fuss since the video went onto the Internet and said their dog should be on a lead. Or that they're stupid. They're idiots … But they're not. He just slipped his lead and ran off. It was as simple as that. It was not their fault."

Darcy continues: "I think the dog might have been called Rocko but I've honestly no idea really. His owners really aren't to blame. Sometimes, dogs are just dogs!"