The U.S. Coast Guard is in the business of saving lives, pretty much any kind of life. They’ll even rescue a dog trapped in the freezing waters of Lake Michigan.
While the Coast Guard is not required to rescue animals lost at sea, they nevertheless have a distinguished history of doing that very thing, especially as it concerns saving dogs.
In this video, “a Coast Guard Station Frankfort crew rescues a dog from the ice-filled channel in Frankfort, Michigan… Petty Officer 3rd Class Tim Putnam swam nearly 200 feet in his ice rescue gear to reach the dog, before both were pulled back to shore by other members of the rescue team.”
Those are the basic facts of the incident. The larger, less perfunctory picture is that a group of people went to significant effort and no trivial risk to themselves, to rescue a scared and probably doomed dog. It’s the kind of thing that warms the heart.
It’s worth sharing a couple of small tidbits on the Coast Guard and canine rescues:
Perhaps the Coast Guard’s predilection for rescuing canines has something to do with the history of the branch and their most famous mascot, the black and tan mutt named Sinbad, who served with the crew of the U.S.S. George W. Campbell from 1937-1948.
Sinbad forever linked the Coast Guard and dogs in the minds of the servicemen and the public.
Article 220.127.116.11 of the Coast Guard Addendum to the Search and Rescue Supplement to The International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue Manual deals specifically with animal rescues, and reads:
Rescue attempts for animals stranded on the ice should only be conducted under ideal conditions after proper RISK ASSESSMENT. The chance of the animal being wild or rabid must be considered when evaluating the potential for injuries to crewmembers.
It’s worth a tip of the hat to recognize that the Coast Guard even has a policy concerning animal rescues at sea. That alone is admirable.
We hear a voice at the end of the video, as the frightened though surely grateful dog is hoisted to safety. A man declares, “Yeah boys. Good job!”