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'Hold on, puppy!'

Police pull pug from icy water

Lieutenant Herold Rossman is greeted with enthusiastic kisses from Castiel, the pug he rescued from freezing Lake Orion. Photo by Gabriel Ouzounian Gabriel Ouzounian. (click for larger version)
December 15, 2010 - By Gabriel Ouzounian

Review staff writer

The sudden onset of cold temperatures has frozen over the many bodies of water in Lake Orion, and presented a dangerous situation for people and pets who end up on thin ice.

Fortunately for pug puppy Castiel, who found himself stuck 10 yards from the shore on Lake Orion, Lt. Harold Rossman of the Lake Orion Police Department arrived when he did.

"I knew it was bitterly cold out that day, and on the call I just kept hearing the owner say 'Hold on puppy! Hold on puppy!'" said Rossman, who responded to the 911 call from the dog's owner, Michael Sabo. "When I got there, I saw that the dog wasn't too far out, so I took off my belt, put on my life vest, and started crawling out to him."

"I could hear the ice cracking as I crawled, and just when I got to the dog, I went in face first."

Rossman was able to grab the dog, and make it back to the shore where he asked Sabo to take the dog inside to warm up.

The lieutenant noted that even if the dog was farther out, he would have found some way to get to him.

"Even if he was farther out, I would have tried to find a boat or tie a rope to my waist so someone could pull me back in," said Rossman. "I've been here for 23 years, and I just look at everything like a challenge."

But it's a challenge Lake Orion Police Chief Jerry Narsh strongly discourages just about anyone from attempting.

"The ice is very dangerous right now," Narsh said. "One of the most

dangerous events that result in human death is when an animal, usually

a dog, goes onto thin ice, falls in and the owners attempt a rescue."

When Lt. Rossman dove into the frozen water to rescue the frowning dog, Narsh added, the ice had broken and the pup was barely holding on. When all was said and done, the

lieutenant's department-issued cell phone was a complete loss, but Rossman eventually warmed up and the

rescued pug returned to the happy owner.

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