A St Bernard has been saved after being submerged in an icy lake from Fairfax county, Virginia, authorities have recently announced.
The incident took place on Friday night, as the domestic pet known as Milo was playing in the snow, alongside his owners.
The sled the family was on took an unexpected detour, while sliding downhill in Fairfax Station. The dog promptly followed it, eventually reaching Woodglen Lake, which had been covered by a seemingly thick and stable sheet of ice.
The St Bernard had the misfortune of winding up in a less sturdy portion of the frozen expanse: the ice cracked, and the dog was plunged into the freezing cold water, approximately 30 feet away from the lake’s shoreline.
Milo’s owners immediately contacted 911, reporting the incident, and first responders from the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department arrived at the scene in the early hours of morning, on Saturday, January 23.
Their efforts were greatly hampered by the inclement weather: air temperature was at around 21 degrees Fahrenheit, and the windchill factor, triggered by powerful, frigid gusts had been estimated at about 8 degrees.
As explained by Captain Carlton G. Burkhammer, the task was made even more difficult by the fact that the canine weighed around 130 pounds, and just two rescue members had been chosen to fetch him.
However, despite the fact that the cards seemed stacked against them, fire fighters weren’t discouraged. Instead, they bravely plunged in the frozen lake dressed in ice suits, pulling the dog out of the water, and bringing it back to the shore.
Immediately afterwards, Milo, who appeared to be drenched and almost frozen, yet still responsive and alert, was enveloped in thick blankets and taken to a medical center where he managed to warm up once again.
Once his body temperature reached normal values, veterinarians determined that the canine was ready to return back home, since he hadn’t sustained any injuries, and his health hadn’t been affected in any way by exposure to the freezing water.
If it wasn’t for the tragic consequences that the accident could’ve had, the story might appear ironic, given the fact that St Bernards have until recently long been used in order to save lost travelers and skiers trapped following avalanches in the Swiss Alps, between Italy and Switzerland.
Now, as emphasized by Chuck Ryan, deputy chief at Fairfax County’s special operations unit, it appears the tables have turned, and a canine traditionally known as a search and rescue dog had to rely on help from humans, being rendered powerless by the unpredictable weather.
Following this incident, Fairfax County authorities have been even more firmly warning locals to take precautions when leaving the house this weekend.
As they explained, meteorologists have predicted 30 inches of snow in the area throughout the weekend, with forceful blizzards making even a small trip outside especially challenging and even dangerous.
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