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Pet dog helps rescue owner who fell into frozen Michigan lake

A Michigan man who fell through a frozen lake can thank his dog Ruby, and police, for his Jan. 18 rescue. (Video: Reuters)
2 min

It was pet dog Ruby to the rescue this week, after she saved her owner when he fell into an icy lake in Michigan.

The brown-and-white-patched dog helped save her owner from a potentially life-threatening situation, enabling a police officer to “perform a successful ice rescue” when the officer could not reach him because of the ice conditions, Michigan State Police said in a statement.

Video of the dramatic rescue was widely shared online after being captured by Motor Carrier Officer Kammeron Bennetts’s body cam.

The video shows Bennetts arriving at the blizzard scene Thursday to find that the 65-year-old Traverse City man had fallen into a freezing Arbutus Lake, in East Bay Township.

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Unable to traverse the thin ice himself, he enlists the help of the canine.

“Send your pup here. Will she come to me?” Bennetts shouts to the man, who replies that the dog’s name is Ruby.

“Ruby, come here! Come here, Ruby!” Bennetts bellows before the dog rushes toward the officer. He then attaches a bright orange rescue disc to her collar along with a piece of rope and urges her owner to call her back over.

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The fallen man grabs the disc and is instructed to “kick your feet” by Bennetts. “Keep pulling the disc,” he shouts: “Pull, pull, pull!”

Eventually, he emerges from the icy water and is dragged across the snow on his belly, along with Ruby, to safety, helped by a firefighter.

Michigan State Police said the agency responded to an emergency call about 11:45 a.m. after bystanders on the shore witnessed the man fall through the ice, and said the man was in the water for approximately 16 minutes. He was later transported by ambulance to the Munson Medical Center for treatment and then released.

The video of the successful rescue attracted lots of praise for Ruby and Bennetts online, with a neighboring police district tweeting: “What a good girl … creative thinking helped save a life!!”

Cold, stormy weather has been raging across much of the contiguous United States, with winter storm warnings in effect downwind of Lake Michigan. Record-cold air and back-to-back storms have made the mid-January snow cover the most extensive in two decades of modern data, The Washington Post has previously reported, although a major thaw is forecast next week.