Dog Chasing Ducks Rescued from Icy Pond

A smooth fox terrier dog out for a hike with his owners almost didn't make it home alive when he found himself stuck in a very precarious situation.

The dog, named Jonah by his owners, the Vargas family of Frisco, Colo., slipped away from his leash after a group of ducks on a pond caught his eye while the family was walking home from a hike in nearby Breckenridge over Thanksgiving weekend, according to authorities.

The dredging pond, a remnant of Breckenridge's old days as a silver mining town, was partially frozen. It was not until Jonah had slid halfway out into the middle of the pond that he appeared to realize he was skating on thin ice.

"He was running around and all of a sudden he just froze," said Jonah's owner, Rod Vargas, according to a news release issued Tuesday by the Summit County Sheriff's Office. "I think he looked down and realized where he was."

Vargas, along with his wife, Michelle, and 12-year-old son, Andrew, made the decision to call for help instead of trying to rescue the dog themselves.

"They could tell that the ice wasn't that thick so, while the ice was holding the dog's weight, they were afraid it wouldn't hold their weight," Tracy LeClair, public information officer for the sheriff's office, told today. "So they did the smart thing and called 911."

An animal control officer arrived on the scene first, quickly followed by Sgt. Cale Osborn, a member of the department's Special Operations Unit, who came equipped with a dry suit that would allow him to survive should he fall into the water.

Osborn pushed a 12-foot log out towards Jonah to try to coax him on to it so he could pull him to safety. When Jonah wouldn't budge, Osborn waded into the pond until he was able to get Jonah to slide back towards shore along with him, according to LeClair.

Back safely on shore, Jonah, who suffered no injuries in the ice scare, was reunited with the Vargas family, which had nothing but praise for their pet's rescuers.

"We told all our friends. It was so touching what they did," Vargas said, according to the news release. "I know for them it was probably something they deal with daily, but for us it was a big deal."

The sheriff's office did not release information about the rescue until this week when it had photos to accompany it. The Vargas family did not immediately return a request for comment placed by

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