A Golden Retriever who escaped its home near DeMeyer Park in West Boise died from exposure to the frigid waters, despite extensive efforts by firefighters to revive the dog after pulling it out.
"It's a very frustrating situation for us," said Acting Captain Charlie Ruffing. "Our instincts are to jump right out there to make a rescue. It's never that easy. There has to be a coordinated effort to make sure we don't hurt someone else."
Firefighters were dispatched to the pond at the park just before 3:30 p.m. by a passerby who noticed the dog in the water and struggling to get onto the ice. Ruffing said the dog was in the middle of the pond, about 60 feet from the shore.
"The dog may have been tempted out there by the ducks," Ruffing said. The dive team was dispatched, but firefighters who were first on scene made an effort to reach the dog.
First, they tried a rope, hoping he might bite it or be coerced into coming out. Then they decided to use an 18-foot ladder to try to reach him. While they were getting the ladder, the dog went under briefly and they knew their window for saving the dog was closing fast.
Engine driver David Elsberry put on a lifejacket and crawled out on the ice on his belly. He was able to grab the dog out of the water.
"He was shoulders deep in the water," Ruffing said. As soon as the dog was out of the water, firefighters began trying to revive it. He wasn't responsive, so they got him to shore to work on him some more.
They did chest compressions and used a canine resuscitation kit to give the dog oxygen. But the young male dog did not recover.
"We were very disappointed," Ruffing said. The dog didn't have tags, but it did have a chip. The Idaho Humane Society sent someone to the scene, and they were able to pull information on the dog's owner from the chip.
Ruffing said firefighters were concerned that because no one saw the dog go into the water, it was possible that an adult or child had fallen into the icy water too.
Firefighters went to the family's house right near the park to notify them that their dog had died. They didn't even know the dog was missing, Ruffing said.
Katy Moeller: 377-6413