Resident Ron Banville was doing what he loves – taking photos at the Salmon Arm wharf, when he witnessed a dog end up in icy peril.
The big black lab was at the boat launch on March 6, running through the middle of the channel, he said.
When the frolicking canine got closer to the shore, he jumped on a ball that had been frozen in the ice for a while. As he landed, he plunged through the thin ice.
Banville thought the dog was going to be able to get out all right with his long legs and strong claws, but he quickly began to whine and cry.
Banville shouted at the owner who was on the other side.
“The next think you know, there were about 20 people there,” he said.
Banville and two other people went in to rescue the frightened creature. Banville said he grabbed a two-by-six and began beating up the ice so they would be able to walk in through the water.
He estimated the dog was about 15 feet offshore and the water was about eight feet deep.
“The dog panicked; he didn’t know what was going on.”
He was hanging on to the shelf of ice, so the rescuers dragged him off towards shore by the hair.
When the rescuers were successful, Banville said a big roar of applause erupted from all the people watching.
The owner was so grateful she wanted to give them flowers, he said.
Banville managed to grab the ball, so it was a particularly happy ending.
“I gave the dog the ball he risked his life for.”
Banville takes the opportunity to issue a warning to people walking near the wharf – and not just about ice.
“It shows why keeping your dog on the leash is important. That was the problem with the whole situation. All around that whole bay is pretty dangerous right now,” he said.
He explained that along with thin ice, near the wharf the mud is almost like quicksand.
“You can sink down six or eight inches in a matter of seconds,” Banville warned. “I’ve seen a lot of people get stuck in the mud there.”
He saw a young girl about five years old get immobilized in it not long ago.
He said her mother went in to try to get her out but by then the woman had sunk in about six inches.
She finally got the little girl out, but the child’s boots came off.
“It was an issue; they won’t do that again.”
As for the dog rescue, Banville was asked how the water was.
“It was a cold ride home,” he declared.