Two dogs were rescued Friday night by the Washington Township Fire Department from an ice floe after being stranded on Maumee Bay in Toledo for almost 10 hours.
About 40 people gathered on the shore burst into cheers as a two-man crew from the Washington Township Fire Department brought the soaking-wet golden retriever and black Labrador retriever to safety at about 6:45 p.m. aboard a hovercraft. The dogs had fallen through the ice several times during the course of the day, but had managed to get back up on the floe, witnesses said.
The dogs were taken to the Lucas County dog pound after the ordeal.
Several residents said they spent the better part of the day watching the dogs, sometimes with binoculars when they got far from shore, and fearing for their safety. The dogs were first spotted about 9 a.m. and, as the day went on, word got out on the Point Place Block Watch Facebook page about their plight.
The dogs ran back and forth on the floe in the middle of the bay between Grassy Island and 145th Street and Edgewater Drive. At times, they were very close to Grassy Island; other times, they came closer to the shore along Edgewater Drive.
Several residents expressed frustration no authorities had tried to save the dogs. Area resident Angi Holt-Parks said she spent the better part of the day on the shore calling for the dogs until her voice was hoarse. At one point, the dogs were very close to shore at Edgewater Drive, but she couldn’t get them to come to her. “I was frustrated and crying,” she said. “I called everyone I could think of to try to get them help. They are someone’s family members, they need to be saved."
At about 5:30 p.m., resident Corey Weiner, 19, decided to borrow his friend’s rowboat. He and several friends carried it to shore and were about to go in when Washington Township Fire Dept. Assistant Chief Jim Binienda asked them to wait.
Chief Binienda said the department didn’t go out sooner over safety concerns. The water and thin ice were not good conditions for operating the hovercraft, he said. “We called the Coast Guard for help, and they said they don’t rescue dogs,” he said. The assistant chief said if the dogs do have owners who come forward, they will be charged for the rescue. Officials could not give an amount immediately after the rescue.
After finally being given the OK to do so at about 6:30 p.m., Washington Township fire Capt. Bill Long drove the hovercraft into the bay with another fire official.
He said the dogs initially ran away from the boat. “They were really scared,” he said. “At one point, one of them fell in, and when they got back on the ice, we were able to get them.”
Although Toledo Police responded, Washington Township rescued the dogs because it has a hovercraft. Toledo police do not.
Once the dogs were brought to shore, Lucas County Deputy Dog Warden Ron Cannon, standing by, put leashes on the dogs, who were able to walk on their own.
County Dog Warden Julie Lyle said late Friday the dogs were doing fine and did not require emergency veterinary care.
No one had reported the dogs missing as of Friday, she said.
The pound will hold them three days to give their owners a chance to come forward and claim them. If they do not, they will be evaluated and possibly placed up for adoption.
“Thank goodness they are safe,” said Lisa Bashaw, a Point Place resident who had been keeping vigil by the shore for several hours. Even though she did not know their genders, Ms. Bashaw had given them the nicknames “Rose” and “Jack,” the lead characters in the movie Titanic.
“They must really love each other to stick by each other all day long like this,” she said.
Contact Tanya Irwin at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6066.