Gibson, a 4-year-old Sheltie mix, had been missing for several days when a slew of callers rang the nonprofit Animal Rescue League of Boston to report a dog stuck on the iced-over surface of Fresh Pond, a closed-off reservoir in Cambridge, Mass.
“It was all fenced in,” the league’s Brian O’Connor told AOL News. O’Connor manages the league’s rescue services. “The dog was literally stuck out there. It couldn’t even get out of the area. It’s a water supply. We’re not sure how the dog got in, in the first place.”
The 20-pound dog must have been cold, thirsty and hungry: She was healthy but slightly thin and dehydrated post-rescue. Despite her obvious need of help, Gibson ran the other way every time a potential savior approached.
“We sent three people out on the ice fully suited up in ice rescue gear,” on Sunday, O’Connor said. “It’s a huge pond, and the dog was running scared.” Failure.
“We set a humane trap up. We caught a raccoon. No dog.” Failure.
“On Tuesday we found an owner. They brought the owner to the ice’s edge. Whether the dog was too far away to recognize them, or whether [she] reverted to a feral state … that didn’t work.” Failure.
On Wednesday, a team of six determined rescuers donned survival suits. Chasing Gibson across the slush-covered ice, one rescuer almost netted her, but the dog turned on him.”She tried flight and she realized that wasn’t working, and so she went into fight mode,” O’Connor said. The rescuer took one for the team, and for Gibson, allowing the dog to come at him while another rescuer sneaked into place.
“He just kept her distracted long enough that another person could get a net over her.” Success!
After a checkup at the rescue league’s clinic, Gibson returned home with her owner.
O’Connor said the rescue team undertakes on-ice rescues all winter, up to several times a week. Last month, a goose became lodged in the icy surface of a pond just north of Boston. A rescuer donned a cold-water immersion suit and crawled across the ice to rescue the trapped bird.