Heroic Rescue: Man Saves Puppy Trapped in Floating Cage from Icy Peril on Frozen Lake

When Bryant Fritz went fishing in early November, he didn’t expect his biggest catch of the day to be a dog. Bryant Fritz who teaches middle school science at Next Generation School in Champaign, was preparing to fish Saturday when he found Dory, a black and white female puppy, sᴜʙᴍᴇʀɢᴇᴅ in rising water and ᴛʀᴀᴘᴘᴇᴅ inside of a dog crate in Kaufman Lake.

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He first spotted the dog ᴛʀᴀᴘᴘᴇᴅ in a crate dumped in Kaufman Lake in Champaign, Illinois. Just the dog’s head was above the freezing water. Being a lifelong dog lover, Fritz knew just what he had to do. He shed a few layers of clothing and waded into the frigid water to sᴀᴠᴇ the dog. Fritz said: ” It was about 3 pm when I saw the dog in the lake. Part of the crate was sticking out of the water. The puppy’s head was still above water, but the rest of her body was sᴜʙᴍᴇʀɢᴇᴅ.” Fritz said there was no hesitation in deciding to wade into the lake.

He said:” It was a cool and wintry day. I took off a couple of layers of sweaters and immediately waded into the water to reach the crate. I believes I waded a distance of between 15 and 20 yards into the lake before reaching the puppy. It was pretty clear the dog had been in the cold water for several hours. I immediately pulled her out of the water and dragged the crate to the shore. But, I then realized the dog had other ᴍᴇᴅɪᴄᴀʟ ɪssᴜᴇs. When I got her up to the shore, there was ʙʟᴏᴏᴅ all over the place. She was ᴍɪssɪɴɢ a bunch of ꜰᴜʀon the back side, and the bottom of her paws were ᴍɪssɪɴɢ ʙᴀᴅ. She probably weighed 15 to 20 pounds, she was definitely a puppy. She was shaking so bad. Her ᴇʏᴇs were sʜᴜᴛ. She was so ᴍɪsᴇʀᴀʙʟᴇ.”

Fritz immediately called the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hᴏsᴘɪᴛᴀʟ to ᴀʟᴇʀᴛthem he was bringing a dog who ᴅᴇsᴘᴇʀᴀᴛᴇʟʏ needed ᴛʀᴇᴀᴛᴍᴇɴᴛ for ʜʏᴘᴏᴛʜᴇʀᴍɪᴀ, ᴠɪsɪʙʟᴇ ᴡᴏᴜɴᴅs, and possibly more. On the way, he stopped at his house to wrap the puppy in a blanket ‘to get her as warm as possible.’ University of Illinois College of Vᴇᴛᴇʀɪɴᴀʀʏ Mᴇᴅɪᴄɪɴᴇ spokeswoman Chris Beuoy noted the puppy has been responding favorably to ᴛʀᴇᴀᴛᴍᴇɴᴛ for ʜʏᴘᴏᴛʜᴇʀᴍɪᴀ. The Hᴏsᴘɪᴛᴀʟ’s staff also cleaned the ᴡᴏᴜɴᴅs and ᴘᴜᴛ her on ᴀɴᴛɪʙɪᴏᴛɪᴄs and ᴘᴀɪɴ ᴍᴇᴅɪᴄɪɴᴇ. Beuoy said:” We weren’t sure if the dog would need additional care for her ᴡᴏᴜɴᴅs, but she received more ᴛʀᴇᴀᴛᴍᴇɴᴛ for her ᴡᴏᴜɴᴅs on Sunday.”

After Champaign County Animal Control takes custody of the pooch, Fritz hopes that he will be allowed to adopt her and give her a loving home. He said:” As I filled out the paperwork when I brought her to the Hᴏsᴘɪᴛᴀʟ, I realized I wanted this dog to be a part of my life. I and my girlfriend Krystal decided if all went well, we would name her Dory after the Disney character voiced by Ellen DeGeneres in Finding Nemo. And like Dory, ‘she didn’t quit in that water.’

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