Dog survives icy dip in the Tahoe Keys |

Dog survives icy dip in the Tahoe Keys

Gregory Crofton

Because the ice wasn’t safe neither was the dog.

A layer of ice covering a small lagoon in Tahoe Keys collapsed late Friday afternoon from the weight of a yellow Labrador retriever named Bo.

The dog tread in frigid water for about 20 minutes before firefighters loosened surrounding ice and pulled him to safety, according to South Lake Tahoe Fire Engineer Rich Owens.

“He was too tired to shake, all he could do was lick my arm,” Owens said.

The dog escaped from a yard with an open gate on Lukins Way and then tried to walk across the lagoon, which is about 25 yards-wide and 150 yards-long. The ice gave when Bo was about five yards from shore.

Wendy Wallace, the dog’s owner, said a neighbor alerted her that Bo and another one of her dogs Rosy, a Yorkshire terrier, were in trouble. The terrier is so lightweight it never cracked the ice, but at one point Rosy did jump in the water in an attempt to help Bo.

“He (Bo) was kind of up at first, but I knew he was getting lower in the water,” she said. “It was very hard, it was almost like it was a human in that water. I wanted to go out there . . . but I didn’t want them to save me first and then have my dog die because I made a stupid mistake.”

Wallace said the fire department’s prompt arrival saved her dog.

“Had they not gotten there so fast in another one or two minutes and he wouldn’t have made it,” she said. “It was unbelievable. Those guys were awesome.”

Key to the rescue was a Holmatro board, a special ice rescue sled owned by South Lake Tahoe Fire Department. Wearing a dry suit to protect against the cold water, a firefighter inched his way across the thick but soft ice with the board under his belly.

As he neared the yellow Labrador, ice broke and that allowed Bo to make his way to the bank where firefighters grabbed and pulled him to dry land.

Since his bath in ice water, Wallace said her dog, whom the family affectionately calls Fat Butt, is moving slowly but doing fine. She said her daughter and a friend made a thank-you card to give to South Lake Tahoe Fire Department.

In December, the fire department saved another dog trapped in ice. Owens said the Holmatro board, paid for with money from the city and Tahoe Keys Home Owners Association, was also instrumental in that rescue.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.