Shutesbury, Leverett firefighters rescue golden retrievers from thin ice of Lake Wyola

  • A frozen Lake Wyola on Sunday, devoid of skaters or dogs. Recorder Staff/Shelby Ashline

Recorder Staff
Tuesday, December 26, 2017

SHUTESBURY – Two older golden retrievers got help from members of the Shutesbury and Leverett fire and police departments over the weekend, when they found themselves on thin ice over Lake Wyola.

According to Shutesbury Fire Chief Walter Tibbetts, a Cove Road resident initially reported one dog on the ice, with the call coming in at 4:14 p.m. Saturday.

Due to a mutual aid agreement for ice rescues, both Shutesbury and Leverett fire departments responded, Tibbetts said, as well as the Shutesbury and Leverett police departments. Finding two dogs that they could better access from the other side of the lake, responders moved to Gass Lite Lane.

One dog, Tibbetts said, easily came to responders, while the other, being more skittish, required additional coaxing. Both dogs were retrieved within 20 minutes.

“It was a successful rescue,” Tibbetts said. “We were lucky we did not have to go out on the ice and were able to get the dogs off without them falling through, or without risking anyone’s safety.”

Tibbetts said the ice was only about 2 to 3 inches thick, with water settled on top, making it very possible for a human or dog to fall through.

First responders dried the dogs off in a fire engine and, largely through their familiarity with residents, were able to return the dogs to their home on Kinder Lane, about a half-mile from where they were rescued. Tibbetts said he was unsure how they had gotten loose.

While Tibbetts said his department has been training on ice rescue equipment for over 15 years, there have been very few ice rescues. Almost all have involved dogs.

“We never really know what the situation is until we’re there, and we have access,” Tibbetts said. “The dog could actually be out there because the owner fell through the ice.”

Reach Shelby Ashline at: sashline@recorder.com

413-772-0261 ext. 257