Dog has lucky day after man saves him from icy river


On Monday morning, Jerry Romine and his 5-year-old Brittney, Lucy, headed to Badger Creek Lake for some exercise.

“It was a gloomy day, we decided to take back-roads home,” explained Romine.

While passing a bridge over Middle River, Lucy needed out. When the pair jumped out of his truck, they heard a cold-cry for help.

Romine said that they could hear a dog barking and another dog wailing, bloodcurdling. I’d rather be beat than hear that kind of noise,” added Romine.

As he looked over the edge of the bridge, Romines’ eyes met Sam’s, a 13-year-old Labrador mix who was partially submerged in the ice. The water was open; it was a very steep drop.

Romine put Lucy back in the cab and rushed to the waters’ edge. The water was too deep, the ice was too thin and Romine’s tow rope was too short. He raced to a nearby farm and tried to wave down passing cars, but too little luck. He called 911 while continuing to try.

“I went through a couple times, up to my knees and got underneath the bridge and ten yards away. Any time I left his sight, he’d wail,” said Romine.

He watched as Sam’s paws slipped off the ice and his head bobbed barely above the freezing water. Every time, Sam would cling and regain his strength. “I was trying to comfort him the best I could,” said Romine. The Winterset Fire Department arrived ten minutes later with life jackets and a boat. They began breaking through the ice while Romine began filming on his phone.  A successful save was made, but Sam was whisked away to the Winterset Vet Clinic before Romine could say goodbye. Sam was put under a heating blanket and his curly hair was blow dried with hot air until his back legs began regaining strength.

Romine called the emergency line and found out Sam’s owner, Heather Russell, had been located and was extremely thankful. Russell says Sam had been visiting her parent’s farm about one mile away when he and another dog wondered to the river.

A little later on Monday, Romine’s phone rang and he heard Russell’s happy voice on the other end.

“I was very, very pleased to hear from her. I was still concerned, he’d been in the water so long that his back legs weren’t working very well and I wanted to make sure he was A-OK,” said Romine.

It is so good that the incident has had a good ending.

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