April, 2011, North Nikiski, Alaska
We live on a side of a hill about hundred feet from an 8 acre lake. Any “goings-on” noise on the lake travels up the hill. We know when the loons are landing in the spring by their songs and loud splashdown and the mama ducks and their babies talking to each other. We also know when momma Moose and her baby go down to the lake for a drink and a swim, as we hear the splash and see the big ripples in the lake. If anyone is in a boat out in the middle of the lake fishing, watch out, we know what you’re talking about too!
We have an old dog named Sadie, part Golden Retriever and part big fat dog. She is a rescued pound dog we have had for about three years. She loves to swim, fetch twigs, sticks and balls that we throw for her. All you have to ask her is ”wanna go for a swim” and she’s off looking for a stick or twig or her ball and headed for the lake, way ahead of you, tail a-wagging. But more than swimming in the lake, she loves little kids!
On this particular day, I came out of the sewing room and was standing on the steps surveying the yard, admiring the green leaves popping out on the trees, when I heard loud whining. I listened and then I heard Magnum’s frantic barking, Gary and Arleighs big brown Lab. Going to the edge of the house to see what was at the lake, I saw Sadie had fallen through the rotten ice that was in the middle of the lake, whining. There was water all around the lakeshore and when she heard children playing in the fishing access across the lake, she must have jumped in and started to swim towards them. She got to the edge of the ice and swam through the rotten part. As she got towards the middle, the ice was thicker; she started swimming in circles pawing the ice, trying to get up on top. The ice would break off and she would swim in a circle again. Magnum was pacing back and forth barking frantically and when he saw me he disappeared up the hill to Gary’s house.
Our good friend Dan was visiting Bob. I ran to the Cave, telling them that Sadie had fallen through the ice. They were down the hill in a flash; the small boat turned over and headed out by the time I got down the hill. Dan was in the bow and Bob was in the back. Dan had an old oar that he was rowing with until he got to the ice. He was trying to push the boat up on the ice when the oar broke. By that time, Magnum had alerted Gary and they ran back down the hill from his house.
Next to the pump house we spied a shovel and the stairs that hook onto the dock so the swimmers can get in and out of the lake in the summer time. Gary took the shovel and stairs out to the edge of the dock and handed them to Bob - Dan took the shovel and Bob had the stairs. Dan was pulling with the shovel and Bob was pushing with stairs. That was no easy task as they were rowing across rotten ice. They reached Sadie in the circle of water; Dan grabbed her by the ruff and by her excess fat and skin and tried to yard her into the boat. She weighs at least 85 pounds and with wet fur it must’ve added another hundred pounds. With both Dan and Bob efforts, they struggled to get her in the boat! They finally rolled her in with the boat dangerously tipping to one side!
Sadie rolled in the boat, got to her feet, shook herself about three times, water flying everywhere, looked around at Dan and Bob, wagging her tail like, “okay now let’s go for a ride!” She was happy as could be-she was in a boat with Dan and Bob!
As they tried to row across the rotten ice – it kept breaking off and Bob and Dan were not getting anywhere with excess weight in the boat. Seeing a garden hose I grabbed it and Gary ran to the edge of the dock and snaked the garden hose over the ice to Bob – just two tries and Bob had it in his hands! Then with Bob hanging on to the hose for dear life, Dan rowing with the shovel, Gary and I pulled them in with the hose, no easy fete! When they finally made it to shore, Sadie jumped out with such glory and happiness. Magnum was so happy to see his doggie friend. Bob and Dan half fell, half crawled out of the boat, totally exhausted, and sat on the shore a few minutes before they could get back on their feet. Sadie was standing over them with a stick – ready to be thrown back into the lake!! It was a long walk back up the hill after thanking Gary and Magnum for their help.
If it had not been for Magnum alerting me with his barks and then going to get Gary at his house, and the efforts of Bob and Dan and Gary– we would not have Sadie – the fat dog – who still loves to swim and loves kids even more.
Bob has taught her to say “dog bone” and “Obama” Who knows what her next word will be. Do I want to know?