Boulder dogs are on thin ice: Firefighters rescue three pooches in two days

Do we really need reminding that warmer weather softens up the surface of frozen lakes in dangerous ways? Apparently so, since Boulder firefighters have had to rescue three dogs in two days. Below, find a City of Boulder press release with details, as well as warnings a lot of us apparently don't heed.

Firefighters rescue three dogs from icy waters in two days

Boulder Fire Rescue personnel would like to remind the public that there are significant dangers associated with venturing onto lakes, ponds and creeks that appear frozen. While most people understand these dangers, pets do not. Owners are reminded to keep their dogs on leashes to prevent them from going onto the ice.

In the past two days, Boulder fire crews have responded to three animal rescue calls: one at Admiral Arleigh A. Burke Park at Mohawk and Pawnee drives and two at a lake near Table Mesa and South Loop drives. In each case, dogs that were not leashed walked onto the ice and fell through. All three were rescued with the help of firefighters who had to go out on the ice to pull them out. In each case, divers were mobilized in the event that they were needed.

The Front Range is susceptible to rapidly fluctuating temperatures, which can lead to unsafe ice conditions. Although ice may appear to be thick in some spots, it is likely to be much thinner over other parts of the water and may not be capable of supporting weight. Ice that was thick one day may melt significantly with just a few hours of warmer weather.

"Just one day can make a big difference. Making the rescues today was much more difficult than yesterday," said Battalion Chief Gil Espinoza. "We care about dogs, but every time a firefighter goes out onto the ice, we are taking a risk."

Firefighters would like to ask pet owners to keep their dogs out of harm's way in the first place, by leashing them around bodies of water this time of year.

If your animal falls through ice, call 9-1-1 immediately so that emergency personnel can respond. If the ice was not thick enough to support your pet, it will not be thick enough to support you.

Do not attempt to go onto the ice or rescue your animal yourself. You are risking hypothermia which is a life-threatening condition. After even just a few minutes in cold water your heart, lungs and kidney functions can be compromised and even fatal. Even after a person has exited the water, hypothermia symptoms may exist.

Remember, by trying to save your dog, you are risking your own life. Call 9-1-1 for fire rescue response instead.

People are urged to stay off ice on any natural bodies of water in the City of Boulder unless the area has been posted and approved for ice-related recreational activities.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts