HOT SPRINGS, Ark. — An Arkansas man and his best friend are back on warm, dry land thanks to a Hot Springs police officer’s timely arrival and level-headed actions in a tense situation.
DeVon Fowler and his 14-month-old dog, Max, were enjoying a winter wonderland stroll recently when Max scurried a little too far out onto a frozen pond, KARK reported.
“The pond looked like land, and he just kept running right out onto it and went about 20 yards out, and he just fell through,” Fowler told the TV station.
Panicked, Fowler called 911 and requested an assist from animal control but was told the weather would likely delay a response.
“I said ‘Well, send someone over to check on me. I’m going in,’” Fowler said, noting he managed to crawl onto the ice within about 15 feet of his pooch.
“I was about five yards from him, and the ice started cracking underneath me, and I’m like, ‘Well here we go,’” Fowler told KARK.
Enter Hot Springs police officer Tyler Ward, who appeared on the bank and walked Fowler through how to get Max back on dry land.
The men ultimately coaxed the dog back to safety, but Fowler remained stuck in the icy water, and Ward had no intention of leaving him there.
“I was so tired I was ready to stop, and (Ward) was very encouraging, telling me that was a bad idea and to keep moving and not stand there in the water and freeze to death,” Fowler told the TV station.
Ward reportedly cleared a path for Fowler and stripped off his jacket for Fowler to grab.
“As he got closer, I was able to peel my jacket off and step down in the water. I threw him my jacket he grabbed it, pulled him to me,” Ward told KARK.
The rescue did not go unnoticed by Ward’s superiors.
“It’s hard to express just how proud we are of Officer Tyler Ward. We want to thank him for his quick thinking and poise while serving our citizens!” the Hot Springs Police Department wrote on its Facebook page.
A similar incident ended in tragedy one week ago when the body of 69-year-old Jessie Roberts of Magazine, Arkansas, was found alongside that of a calf he unsuccessfully attempted to rescue from a frozen Logan County pond.