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Firefighter jumps in icy pond, rescues growling dog

The dog — named Bob — was in the frigid water, and Bob’s frantic owner and her children were calling to him, telling him to hang on and not bite his rescuer

Firefighter Logan Hadley rescued a dog named Bob from a frozen pond at a park in Clearfield, Utah, on Jan. 14. (Video: Mark Becraft)
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Utah firefighter Logan Hadley was at the station writing reports when a call came in about a dog partially submerged and stuck in a frozen pond.

Hadley and a crew of eight rushed over to Steed Park in Clearfield, Utah, where they saw a black Labrador retriever clinging to an ice shelf from inside the 2½-acre pond — a popular fishing spot in warmer months. It was Sunday afternoon, and a snowstorm had just dumped several feet of snow in the surrounding mountains.

The dog was barking in the frigid water, and the pup’s frantic owner and her three children were calling to him, encouraging him to hang on.

“We’ve trained for a call like this, but I’d never had to do it before,” said Hadley, 20, who has worked at the North Davis Fire District station in Clearfield for almost a year.

“This was my first time for an actual water rescue, and I could tell this family was really scared and worried about getting their dog out,” said Hadley, who had put on an insulated suit to prepare to get in the water himself.

The family told rescue workers that their dog, Bob, had joyfully jumped into the frozen pond after romping in the snow at the park. When he was unable to climb out, they called 911.

North Davis Fire District Chief Mark Becraft said Bob was initially doggy-paddling and barking, looking for a way out, then he became tired and rested his paws on the edge of the ice.

Every second matters in an icy pond, he said, and hypothermia can set in within minutes. Bob had already been in the pond about 10 minutes.

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“I was relieved that the dog’s owner hadn’t jumped in after him because then we would have had a real nightmare,” Becraft said.

The crew attached a rescue line to Hadley’s suit, then set a ladder on the snowy slope in case rescuers needed something to hold onto, or the dog needed something to climb onto.

A video shows Hadley crawling down the slope to seem less intimidating to the dog, then lowering himself into the icy water feet first as his crew shouted instructions.

The dog began to growl at Hadley as the rescuer drew near.

“Bob, be good!” Bob’s owner called to him.

“Be nice — he’s going to help!” one of her children shouted.

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The buoyant yellow suit helped keep Hadley afloat as he approached the dog to grab hold of him.

Hadley said he could immediately sense Bob’s stress and fear.

When he grabbed the slippery dog from behind, Bob tried to bite him. Bob was able to nip Hadley’s face in a couple of places as the owner shouted “No, Bob, no!”

“His fight-or-flight instinct set in and he didn’t want his back to me,” Hadley said, adding that he held Bob’s face away from his body once he had a tight grip.

Bob squirmed to get away, but Hadley held on, and a few seconds later, the crew pulled them both out of the water with the line attached to Hadley’s suit.

Hadley said he felt relief as he watched Bob shake off the water, then run toward his family. The rescue was reported by the local station Fox 13.

“It felt good to see that reunion and know the dog was going to be all right,” he said.

Hadley said he loves dogs and had thought about becoming a veterinarian before he joined the fire department.

Bob’s family warmed him up after his icy dip in the pond and he’s now in fine health, said Hadley, noting that the nicks on his own face were minor.

“I’ve got a little mark on my forehead and one on the bridge of my nose — it’s not bad at all,” he said.

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Bob’s owner declined to be interviewed, but she and her kids dropped by the fire station a few days after the incident to leave the rescue crew a box of chocolates and a heartfelt thank-you note, Hadley said.

Becraft, who took a video of the rescue, posted it on the North Davis Fire District Facebook page, urging people to keep their distance from frozen bodies of water.

“Bob the dog loves the water but the ice shelf prevented him from being able to get out after his polar plunge,” the Facebook post read. “Please be safe with your pets and children as ice conditions are still not as safe as we’d like them to be.”