A dog found herself on thin ice Tuesday, but a man walked on frozen water to rescue her.
Early on Tuesday afternoon, the North Platte Police Department shared a video to Facebook that shows a man walking across the ice of the North Platte River, carefully, toward a dog whose back legs are trapped in a patch of freezing water. The dog holds herself up with two front legs on top of the ice.
After the man helps the dog out of the water with a leash, she shakes herself off, gains composure on the ice and takes the man sliding across the ice patch toward shore. Soon, she’s running independently.
The North Platte Police Department identified Scott Ambrose, a volunteer member of the Lincoln County Dive Team and a full-time North Platte firefighter, as the rescuer. While the North Platte Fire Department and Animal Shelter also responded to the scene at Cody Park, it was Ambrose’s day off from work. He responded solely as a volunteer dive-team member.
“I went there to survey the situation and see if it warranted a full man response,” he said.
Ambrose decided one dive-team member was enough for the scene.
Police responded at 9:30 a.m. to a report of two dogs in the river, according to the Facebook post.
But when their owner arrived, “the first dog came running right over to him,” Ambrose said. “The other one couldn’t get her back half out of the water.”
Ambrose said there’s not much equipment to prevent from falling in an icy, patchy river.
“I had my cold water rescue suit on, should I have fallen in,” he said.
Ambrose also held onto a “lifeline” rope, the other end of which someone on shore held. That way, “if I did fall in, I wasn’t going to float away anywhere,” he said.
Ambrose expected the dog to be OK, especially since she walked back to her owner independently. He didn’t know what brought the dogs to the river, and said they “were loaded up before I was off the ice.”
Beth Kerr, public information officer with the police department, said one man was cited on suspicion of two counts of loose dogs.
Ambrose joined the dive team in 2012, the same time he joined the North Platte Volunteer Fire Department. He’s worked as a firefighter full-time for two years. He noted past tragedies the dive team has encountered, and Tuesday’s happy ending.
“The nice thing is, it was a rescue instead of a recovery,” he said. “It was nice to be able to rescue this time around.”
Ambrose said that walking on frozen water is not to be taken lightly. He advised people to “never go on the river, period, this time of year. The ice is unsafe and sketchy.”
When someone goes to an area lake or pond for activities like ice fishing, Ambrose said to let someone know where you’re going, how long you’ll be there “and whenever possible, go with a partner.”