A Chicago man almost lost his life trying to save his new puppy from the icy waters of Lake Michigan.
The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, was on a walk with his dog Pika at Lincoln Park Sunday afternoon when the 9-month old American Eskimo mix jolted down to the beach, the man shared in a statement shared by the Chicago Police Department.
Pika then fell on the ice and disappeared over the ridge, the man stated. The man ran to the edge to find the pup swimming in the water. Knowing Pika had a small chance of survival, the man jumped in.
While he was able to get the pup to safety, he soon found himself trapped in the lake.
Moments later, first responders with the Chicago Police Department arrived on the scene to pull the man out of the water after an eyewitness called for help.
The incredible rescue mission was captured on an officer’s body camera and shared on YouTube.
It looks like five officers used their own bodies and a dog leash belonging to a bystander to remove the man out of the freezing cold water.
“He started yelling, ‘help me, help me,”‘ CPD Officer Miguel Del Toro stated during a press conference.
“We ended up crawling on our knees over the ice ridge to get to him,” Toro added.
Once the man was removed from the ice, he let out an huge sigh of relief.
“Take a breath man, you’re good man,” an officer can be heard telling the man in the video.
The man was then taken to a nearby police car, where he was reunited with Pika.
After the incident, the Chicago Police shared that both Pika and the man are doing fine.
In his statement, the man thanked the officers for saving his life.
“They absolutely saved my life and I will be forever grateful to them,” the man wrote.
“The first responders treated me and my dog in the ambulance and the emergency room. They allowed Pika to stay with me under the warming blanket in the ER. My core body temperature had dropped 93 degrees.”
“Pika and I are both fully recovered and in debt to our gracious and heroic first responders,” the man added.
Weather in Chicago has been terribly cold for the last week or so. On the day of the incident, the temperature was only 9 degrees. It has since dropped drastically. On Tuesday, the temperature reached 0 degrees and is expected to go down to -21 degrees by nightfall.
By Wednesday, dangerously frigid wind chills caused by a displaced polar vortex are expected to sink temperatures in the Midwest near negative 30F and the wind chill could be as low as negative 50F or 60F — the lowest they’ve been in more than two decades.
As brutal and deadly cold pushes across the Midwest, veterinarians are telling pet owners to not leave their dogs/cats outside for too long.
Like humans, pets can come down with hypothermia or frostbite.
A pet’s ears, paws and tails are particularly susceptible to injury. If you expect that your pet might be suffering from hypothermia or frostbite, take him to the vet immediately. Keep walks and outdoor time to a minimum during freezing weather, and always keep an eye on your pets while they are outside.