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February 4, 2013

Firefighters rescue dog from frozen park creek

Bystander called police after seeing dog fall through ice.

By Carson Gerber 
Tribune staff writer

Kokomo — Kokomo firefighters rescued a dog Sunday morning that fell through the ice into Kokomo Creek after it chased a squirrel through Highland Park.

Jimmy Prestler, a 56-year-old carpenter who lives near the park, said he stepped outside Sunday to get the newspaper when his beagle cocker spaniel named Chancellor B. Skeffington, M.D., saw a squirrel and took off chasing it.

“He’ll chase anything with fur or feathers,” he said. “But he always comes back.”

According to the Kokomo Fire Department, a person driving through the park saw the dog fall through the ice and stopped to help, but was unable to save him and called police.

“I’m guessing the squirrel made it across the creek, but the dog didn’t,” said Dave King, battalion chief with the fire department who oversaw the rescue.

Firefighters arrived on scene at 8:47 a.m., where King observed Chancellor struggling to get out of the frigid water and onto the thin crust of ice. He said the dog was violently shaking and had icicles frozen to his face.

Firefighter Derek Pounds, equipped with an ice sled and cold-water rescue suit, slid out onto the creek and was able to snag Chancellor. Pounds wrapped him in a blanket and dried him off.

Prestler said he wasn’t worried about his dog until he saw a police car and two trucks stopped near the creek. When he went to see what was going on, Prestler said firefighters had just retrieved Chancellor from the freezing water.

“He was just shaking like a leaf,” he said.

Prestler said he’s had Chancellor — who he calls Chance for short — for seven years after getting him from an animal shelter. The two have a close bond, he said.

“I think I would have to get therapy if he didn’t survive,” Prestler said. “Whenever I come home, it’s like seeing my brother after five years. Chance just goes nuts every time.”

King said the dog likely would have died if he’d been in the creek much longer.

“It’s lucky someone saw what happened and called,” he said. “Had he not seen him, the dog would have frozen to death.”

Prestler said he plans to thank the fire department with pulled-pork sandwiches for saving his dog.

“They not only saved his life, they saved mine, too,” he said.

King said he understands the attachment between a pet and its owner, and said he was glad Prestler got his dog back.

“It feels good to help out,” he said. “I’m sure it made his day.”

Prestler reported Sunday afternoon that Chancellor was wrapped in the blanket provided by the fire department and doing fine.

Carson Gerber is a Kokomo Tribune reporter. He may be reached by at 765-854-6739, or by email at carson.gerber@kokomotribune.com.


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