We’ve all seen chilling footage of someone’s beloved pet plunging through the ice and finding themselves in frigid water. You can feel the tension through the screen: People want to jump in and help, but if done improperly, rescue efforts can result in more than one loss of life.
There are plenty of heartwarming stories about dogs who have been rescued by firefighters, who use their training and gear to safely retrieve wayward pups.
There are also tragic stories of owners trying to save their dogs themselves and succumbing to the cold. The best way to avoid all of this is to make sure your dogs don’t have access to frozen bodies of water, but of course that’s not always feasible.
It’s especially impossible to ensure when the stranded pup doesn’t belong to anyone. At least pets (ostensibly) have owners looking out for them who can alert authorities immediately, but this puppy didn’t have anyone. By the time she was noticed, it was almost too late.
But it’s the “almost” that makes this story a good one.
It was in Dec. 2018 in Van, Turkey, when someone noticed the puppy stranded on a chunk of ice in the lake, almost 500 feet from shore. This would require major rescue efforts, so the police were called.
Burak Okten, a diver with the Turkish police, showed up and donned his diving gear. He made his way out to the sheet of ice where the dog was, but things didn’t look good.
Using nothing but his arm, he chopped through the ice to get closer to the puppy, which was collapsed, unresponsive. There was no way to know if she was even still alive.
As he reached her and broke through the ice next to her, she slid limply into the icy water, not even moving. He slung her over his shoulder, carefully ensuring that her head didn’t go underwater.
Though people clapped when he got her to shore, he wasn’t smiling, and the rescuers had to quickly take the pup to see if there was anything they could do to revive her.
Based on the clip alone, it’s hard to hold out any hope that it would be possible to revive the spark of life that was quickly being extinguished, but thankfully there’s more video evidence that she did pull through.
She looks tired and scared, but she’s alive. She looks much bigger than she did before, too — probably thanks to regular meals and a fluffy coat that finally dried.
To sweeten the story, Okten himself adopted the young dog, calling her survival a “miracle.”
“We had very little hope when she got out of the water,” he said during an interview, according to the BBC. “I didn’t expect her to survive.”
“It was 0200 when we got in touch with you. Our veterinarians devoted themselves to her.”
“And a miracle happened really. She came back to life.”
She’s in good hands now, with a bright future ahead of her. In case anyone’s tempted to forget about that cold December day when she almost slipped away, she’s been named “Buz,” the Turkish word for “ice.”
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