A Labrador Retriever mix and human owner had a close call after the dog fell under the icy Chena River!
Travis Gottlin was out for a walk with his Lab, Ashii, on Friday evening near the Angel Rocks trailhead. The Lab slipped and then vanished.
Things looked grim when Gottlin looked into the hole his dog had fallen through and saw nothing but water and darkness.
He tried in vain to hit through the thick ice with a log and soon realized it was futile. His first thought was how would be tell his fiancée that Ashii had drowned.
He told newsminer.com, “I just kind of sat down and started to cry, I didn’t think there was anything I could do.”
Gottlin, has had the Labrador mix for about 2 years, since he was a puppy. He and his fianceé have three dogs, but Ashii needs more exercise than the others and that’s why they were alone on Friday.
Angel Rocks is a popular hiking trail and this was Gottlin’s first time on the hike. Near the beginning of the trail Gottlin stopped to take a picture and disaster struck.
Image: Travis Gottlin
“Out of the corner of my eye, I just saw him fall in and disappear,” he said.
Gottlin said he cannot remember how much time passed after trying to break through the ice with a log. He said it felt like two minutes, but could have been 10 seconds.
Then, he heard a noise coming from the ice and the sound of his dog’s whines. They were coming from about 20 feet away from where the dog had fallen in.
He slowly stepped onto the ice that was a lot thinner than where the dog had fallen. Although more dangerous for Gottlin, the ice was thin enough to kick out a trough until he eventually he could see Ashii.
The dog was standing in open water below a layer of ice. In the space between the water and the ice there was only enough room for his nose and eyes. Although the bank was shallow enough for the dog to stand, the current was gradually dragging him downstream.
“He saw me and once we made eye contact it was, ‘OK. We can do this,”Gottlin said.
He continued kicking the ice until he made a hole big enough to grab his Lab by the collar and pull the cold pooch out.
Labrador and owner are both okay but shook up. Ashii’s only injury was a scratch on his nose.
After their ordeal, the wet and cold wet pair spent some time in Gottlin’s truck to warm up!
Gottlin and Ashii are grateful to be together again.