"There is so much bad news these days, I wanted to let you know about something wonderful that happened Wednesday," Hope Bailey wrote to Muskego Patch.
We were all ears. There's no better story than one that involves good news. And dogs.
Bailey, who lives on Bass Bay on Big Muskego Lake is an animal lover with dogs, one of which is a 10-month-old Golden Retriever who loves to chase geese. (I could relate, having a five-year-old golden that still does the same as he "matures.")
"Sophie's" habits got her into a bit of trouble, however as she was outside playing with Bailey's son and friend in their yard, and suddenly took off for a flock of geese on roosting at the edge of open water, about 100 fee off shore.
Seeing what was about to happen, the kids ran to get Bailey and within seconds Sophie was in the open water surrounded by the still-thin ice.
"She paddled frantically to get out of the hole, but try as she might, she couldn’t pull herself out. I watched helplessly as Sophie fought for her life. I kept yelling at her that she was going to make it, that I loved her and that help was on the way," Bailey said.
A friend called 911 and two Tess Corners Fire Department volunteers arrived, Alex Roy and Steve Bergerson, to try and rescue the dog, which was now showing signs of fatigue. Bailey said both got in a small boat that Bailey's neighbor, Harry Bass, provided, and laid on their stomachs side by side.
"They each put one arm outside the boat and held what looked like a metal claw and on their stomachs on this little boat they clawed their way to the middle of the lake," Bailey explained.
She said by that time Sophie was in the freezing water for about 45 minutes and had stopped paddling much, "but as soon as she saw them, she swam to them."
Roy and Bergerson pulled the dog out of the freezing water and brought her back to shore, where they wrapped her in warm blankets and put her in the rescue squad to warm up, according to Bailey.
"It was the most heartwarming thing I have ever seen and I will forever be grateful to all those who responded, but especially to Alex Roy and Steve Bergerson who put themselves in harm's way to save Sophie," Bailey said.
Ironically, Bailey had left a message for her veterinarian, Dr. Bob McClanahan of the Mobile Pet Doctor, prior to the entire incident, and he happened to call back in the middle of it.
"All I could do was cry on the phone," said Bailey. "He couldn’t understand what I was saying, so he immediately drove over and got here just in time to take Sophie from the firefighters, put her in his car, cover her with a warm blanket and rush her to Milwaukee Emergency Center for Animals."
Sophie spent the night there on Wednesday and was given intravenous warm fluids and covered with warm blankets to bring her body temperature up.
She is now back home with Bailey, but she wanted to make sure the community knew of Roy and Bergerson's help that day, along with her neighbors and her vet, who acted quickly to ensure the rescue.
"So often it is only the worst side of humanity that is written and read about. What I saw yesterday was the best side of humanity, the kindness and respect for all life," Bailey said.
Despite having an invisible fence, Bailey explained that they didn't think the dogs would venture on the ice, which on that day was not snow-covered. She said they won't give Sophie another chance at chasing geese after this incident.
"She's on leash, with us, all the time - and now we're choosing to walk the dogs down the lane, away from the lake."