Shar-peis are definitely not built for frigid winter weather, with their short, bristly coats and loose wrinkles. That did not stop one such pup named Lilly from getting herself in serious trouble.
Lilly had gone missing the day before from her home in neighboring Audubon, New Jersey. Witnesses on shore spotted her wandering onto the thin ice that covered nearby Newton Creek. She fell through the ice and with temperatures dropping and snow falling, things did not look good for the poor pup.
The volunteer firefighters who service the suburban town, bravely geared up for the second time that morning to rescue the freezing dog and battle the elements.
“We were in the station, which was a plus, so we made some quick assignments. One of the guys started putting on a dry suit right away before we even left the firehouse,” Hudson said.
When the trucks reached the scene, the team climbed down the snow- and ice-covered hill with their gear, toward the struggling dog.
“Battalion Chief Greg Grudzinski was the first out on the ice. He started working his way out on the [ice rescue] sled; the second firefighter in a dry suit was Captain Fred Bartling, who followed,” Hudson noted. “Greg wound up breaking through the ice, and had to break his way to get to where the dog was.”
The firefighters made their way to the dog, they could see her head above the water, but her paddling was slowing down. It only took them minutes before they had the exhausted dog loaded onto the sled and the crew pulled her ashore.
Once Lilly was out of the freezing water, she was shivering and lethargic, with minor cuts from her struggles trying to escape the ice covering her body. She was in the water as long as 10 to 15 minutes, according to Hudson, proving to be quite the survivor.
“A person might not have lasted that long in water that was that cold,” Hudson explained.
Lilly was wrapped in a blanket and taken to the firehouse, where she warmed up quickly. Despite not having a collar, her distinctive looks helped to identify her as the Shar-Pei who had gone missing from the neighboring town.
She was then, happily reunited with her family!
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