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Dog rescued after falling through ice on lake near Nanaimo

Volunteer firefighters mount water rescue after dog seen struggling for its life in Hemer Park

Volunteer firefighters rushed to an icy lake south of Nanaimo to come to the rescue of a dog that had fallen through the ice.

North Cedar Volunteer Fire Department were called to Hemer Provincial Park shortly after 11 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 12, to a report of a dog that had fallen through the ice on Holden Lake and was unable to climb up onto the ice or make its way to shore.

Firefighters were able to see the dog struggling against the ice on the far side of the lake, close to a property on Rugg Road.

Two firefighters crossed the lake from from the Hemer Park side on the inflatable rescue boat while a third firefighter entered the water from the opposite shore and managed to reach the dog. It was losing consciousness in the near-freezing water, but firefighters had it on shore and in a blanket minutes after mounting the rescue effort.

Percy Tipping, North Cedar Fire Department chief, said he did not know how long the dog had been in the lake before it was seen by the passerby.

“The report from the crew that has the dog said the dog does seem to have a decreased level of consciousness, obviously hypothermia,” Tipping said. “It’s unknown how long the dog was in the water, but we’re going to get it to the care it needs and hopefully it’ll turn out well.”

The dog was rushed to a veterinary clinic in Nanaimo.

Mike Newman, owner of Sakari, a one-year-old Bernese mountain dog-Great Pyrenees cross, said the dog was doing well after being treated and was close to being able to return home.

“We’ve got the fire rippin’ and her bed’s all nice and warm, so she’ll be well set up when she gets here,” Newman said.

He did not know what attracted Sakari off his property at the end of Rugg Road and onto the lake.

“Normally she and our other dog, Diesel, are supposed to stay here in our yard to look after the yard and keep an eye on our chickens here, but I guess her nose got the better of her and she found her way out onto the ice,” Newman said. “She’s only a year old. She’s just a baby, so she gets distracted pretty quick, so I guess that’s what happened.”

Newman said he’s grateful to whoever it was that saw his dog struggling in the water and that firefighters could respond so quickly.

“Whoever that was, a big, big, big, thank you … I’m just super happy the way everyone came together and made it happen,” he said.

READ ALSO: Firefighters called after people spotted walking on the ice on Long Lake in Nanaimo

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Volunteer firefighters with North Cedar Volunteer Fire Department braved near-freezing waters to save a dog that was seen struggling for its life after falling through ice on Holden Lake in south Nanaimo. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Sakari, a one-year-old Bernese mountain dog-Great Pyrenees cross, is pictured with North Cedar Volunteer Fire Department’s Bryce Richards, one of the firefighters who rescued the dog Wednesday, Jan. 11. (Photo courtesy Shaun Payne)

Chris Bush

About the Author: Chris Bush

As a photographer/reporter with the Nanaimo News Bulletin since 1998.
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