And failed miserably at it.
Around 5:00 Rose started barking while looking down towards the pond which is not normal for her. I looked out the windows and didn’t see anything. I tried to call the Border Collies in, but only Gel came. Weird. I opened the back door to call again for Split and that’s when I heard canine distress calls. It’s hard to describe the vocalizations, but I knew there was a dog in trouble somewhere out back. I could also hear Merlin snorting really loud.
I called to Wally that something was wrong outside, grabbed my coat and shoes and ran out. At first I thought maybe Split had gone into Merlin’s pasture and been kicked. I stopped to look and only saw a very disturbed horse. Then I looked down towards the pond and saw Split in the deepest end of it swimming in a circle. Somehow, she must have slid across the thick ice that was along the perimeter of the pond and broke through in the middle where it wasn’t so thick. She couldn’t make her way back to the shore; she was trying, but I could see that her movements were getting slower and slower as the cold set in.
I ran around to the other side of the pond to try to get the John boat into the pond. A John boat is a row boat with a flat bottom. No go, the ice was too thick to get it into the pond. I ran back to the other side of the pond and grabbed a long, heavy tree limb and threw it out on the ice in an attempt to break it so Split would have a path to swim through. By then, she had all but stopped swimming.
I was ready to go into the pond myself to get her out, then saw Wally dragging a kayak towards the side of the pond where I was. I don’t know why I didn’t think of using a kayak rather than the John boat; I guess I was looking for the stability of the John boat. I met him part of the way and asked him to launch me into the pond. As he did so, the nose of the kayak went into the pond and I was up to my waist in cold water.
Even with the narrow nose of the kayak, I had a heck of a time getting through the ice. Finally, I got to Split and hauled her into the boat, praying that she wouldn’t struggle and tip us both into the water. Turning the kayak around in the small area of open water was difficult, but I finally got it going in the right direction. I couldn’t return to where Wally launched me because the shore was too steep for him to get both me and the dog out so I had to paddle the kayak a longer distance through the ice. Split was shaking so hard that she was making the kayak extremely unsteady.
Finally, we were all on dry land. I bundled Split up into my arms and ran into the house. Luckily, we had the kerosene heater going. As I came in through the mud room, I grabbed a heavy towel and wrapped it around Split. I laid her down near the kerosene heater and wrapped my body around her in an attempt to warm her up. She tried to stand up, her legs went out from under her.
Wally brought the kayak back and came into the house. He grabbed more towels and took over warming Split while I removed my wet clothes and then I gave her a dose of the homeopathic remedy Aconite. About 30 minutes later, she stopped shivering; she could walk normally and ate some dinner. She spent the rest of the evening on the couch wearing one of my sweatshirts and slept in the bed with me under the covers.
Let’s hope she doesn’t try that stunt again. Thank goodness for both Rose’s and Merlin’s alerts. I may not have gone outside as quickly as I did if it were not for the two of them. I don’t think Split had much more time left in that cold water; we are all very lucky that she survived.
They said on the news this morning that this area hasn’t had a cold spell this long since 1977. It is supposed to get up to 46 degrees today and close to 60 towards the end of the week so the ice on the pond should be a thing of the past. I would be very happy not to see any more ice this winter, but I expect that’s wishful thinking.
Until later …