In the dog owner community, there are two separate yet equally important groups. The people who love dogs and take them into their homes, and their dogs who make life interesting. These are their stories.
(da dum) [sound effect] *
Sunday, November 23, 2008
The day dawned brisk and cold. Half of the lake had been frozen over for a couple of weeks, but the chilly overnight air had caused a skim of ice to form on the entire lake. That morning we had walked around the lake because we had seen a deer sitting in the water at the opposite shoreline with a couple of wolves sitting on the beach watching it. When we got near the deer we realized that it had broken its right front leg when it fell through the ice. The wolves would have made short work of it, unfortunately.
After we got back from a neighbour's granddaughter's christening, Freda decided to take the dogs out for a walk.
It was a chilly day and it was fun running and playing with Tawny and Freda. Then Max came out and we had a lot of fun playing. Then Emma took me up to the house and Mark was upset.
It was a nice day, a bit chilly, but just exactly like the way I like it. I was playing with my mummy and then there were all these big birds, flapping their wings and it was all exciting, and like, it was so fun, so I started to chase them and it was so fun, I was running and running and it was so fun and and then all of a sudden I was swimming and it was cold and it made me frightened. But mummy came to help me get out of the water, but she went swimming too although she helped me get out of the water after a few tries but she didn't get out of the water. I was scared and mummy was scared too and I went up to lick her face to help mummy but she yelled at me to get away. I didn't understand why she didn't want me to kiss her.
I was visiting my friends next door to Freda's and Mark's and I looked out the window and saw Freda with Tawny and Taz. So I went out with Max because my mom was going to come to pick me up very soon. I was talking with Freda and then Tawny took off to chase some Canada Geese on the other side of the lake. Tawny broke through the ice and was swimming and frightened. Freda went to help her and asked me to go up and get Mark. I ran up the hill to the house and when Mark answered the door, he said "Where is Freda?" and we looked out and could only see her head sticking out of the water.
We came back from Lisa's baby's christening and Freda wanted to take the dogs out by herself. A little while later, the doorbell is ringing and there's knocking on the door and it's Emma. I open the door and Emma says Tawny has fallen through the ice and Freda needs help to get her out. I said "Where is she?" and we looked but all we could see was Freda's head sticking out of the water. I grabbed a coat and some shoes and started to get a step ladder to put in the car trunk to go down to the lake. I was almost ready to go when I heard a commotion at the front door and I looked out to see Steve's new truck on the front lawn and Colleen helping a very very cold Freda into the house. Freda was dripping wet, so I ran and grabbed some towels while Freda stripped off her ice cold coat and clothes. I helped Freda into the bath tub to warm up and cleaned up the puddles in the foyer. I have no idea what happened with the dogs but I think Emma must have put them in the back yard or brought them in or something.
Steve had just got his new F-150 King Ranch truck and I was driving this pretty truck down to pick up Emma who was visiting Freda and Mark's neighbour at Jiulia Lake. As I was approaching their house, I saw Freda in the middle of the lake and - boom - I saw her fall through the ice as I was watching. I immediately drove down to the edge of the shore and ran out to see what I could do. Freda said the ice was thick there but not to come too close and throw the end of the dog leash to her. It was an extendable leash so I extended it out and threw it to Freda. She caught it after a few tries but I couldn't pull her out because her shoulders were at the water level. Eventually Freda managed to get part of her over the edge of the ice and I pulled her towards the shore. Steve Kayser, the neighbour, had run down to the lake at this time and picked Freda up and put her in the truck. I jumped in the truck and drove up to Freda's house, right over the front lawn and parked in front of the front door.
I took the dogs out after the christening for a play. Dear Emma was visiting the neighbour girls and saw me and the dogs and came out to say hi. A few minutes later, Tawny took off across the lake to chase some Canada Geese and fell through the ice. I could see she was scared and was going to need help to get out, so I asked Emma to go and get Mark and I started to go out to try to rescue Tawny. I was on my hands and knees to distribute my weight on the ice and I was doing well but then the ice broke and I fell into the water. That was cold. That was very cold. That was very very cold. That was very very very very very cold!!!! Then Colleen appeared with her stiletto boots but there were no ropes or sticks or anything. Then I saw the leash laying on the ice where I dropped it when I went onto my hands and knees. I told Colleen to extend it out and and throw it to me which she did. Eventually I was able to catch it but I couldn't get out of the water, even though Colleen was pulling because my shoulders were at the water level. Somehow I got partly out of the water and Colleen started pulling me across the ice towards the shore. I lost my mitten and I was so very cold. Steve Kayser picked me up and carried me to the front seat of Steve's new truck and plopped me in there, even though I was soaking wet. Colleen drove me up to the house and on the front lawn and helped me up into the house.
Those were the events of November 23, 2008 - three years ago. This is the photo of the lake on November 26, a few days later. You can read my original (very short) blog posting here.
Freda lost a mitten when she fell in, and it marks the place where she fell in -- this photo shows that location. You can also see the trail on the ice where Colleen dragged Freda to the shore.
These are the stories but these were all written by me (Mark). I do have notes that I made at the time, but I didn't have them with me as I wrote these stories, so there may be minor errors in detail.
Needless to say, I am forever grateful to Colleen and Emma for their part that day in pulling Freda out of the lake. If they hadn't been there, I dread to think what might have happened.
In 2009, I was reading some of the stories of the new winners of the Governor General's awards for Bravery. As I read those stories, I thought that I should look into nominating Colleen for her selfless actions that saved Freda's life. I submitted a nomination and am very glad to say that Colleen was informed that she will be the recipient of a Governor General Award for Bravery.
You can read about the October 2011 awards here.
* Apologies to Dick Wolf, the creator of Law & Order, for taking creative license with the introductory commentary to his show.