Alberta man jumps into icy water to save his pet dog from drowning

It was a split-second decision that could have ended in disaster for one Alberta man who heroically risked his life by plunging into freezing cold water to rescue his small pet dog.

Duncan MacIver was walking his French bulldog, Cosmo, at an off-leash dog park in St. Albert, Alta., when his canine companion fell through the ice covering a pond. Knowing Cosmo was a poor swimmer and in danger of drowning, Maclver didn’t hesitate and immediately plunged into the icy cold water to retrieve his four-legged friend.

And in a strange bit of coincidence, a CTV Edmonton news crew was also at the scene setting up for a story on ice safety and happened to capture the entire dramatic rescue on camera. The video was posted on CTV Edmonton’s Facebook page on April 8, where it has been viewed more than 95,000 times.

Tonight on CTV News at Six, St. Albert Fire has been dealing with an increase in ice rescues. Angela Jung was at an off-leash dog park in St. Albert when a dog fell through the ice and his owner jumped in the pond to rescue him.

Posted by CTV Edmonton on Saturday, April 8, 2017

The now-viral footage shows Cosmo struggling to keep his head above the ice as MacIver frantically wades through the water to retrieve him. The man can be seen hoisting the dog out of the water as the dog desperately tries to crawl to safety.

Fortunately, both Cosmo and his owner eventually made their way back to shore safely. It was a rescue effort that Maclver admitted may have put his own life at risk, but never the less, he didn’t regret his decision.

“It wouldn’t be much of a life if I had to watch my dog drown,” he told CTV Edmonton mere moments after emerging from the icy water. “It’s a split second thing. You’re not just going to let him die, right?” he added.

“I think most people would do the same for their dogs.”

Local officials are now warning other pet owners to think twice if they find themselves in a similar situation.

Gregg Bauwens, the acting lieutenant of the St. Albert Fire Department, explained to CTV Edmonton that Maclver’s rescue effort could of went much worse under certain conditions.

“The water’s running under the ice and the water current would drag you under the ice,” he said. “Once that happens, you have no real chance of a good result.”

He also advised that the best thing for people to do if a pet or loved one does fall through the ice is to immediately call for emergency help and stay out of the water.

“Most of the fatalities involved with ice water rescues involve people actually going in after their pets or children.”