Neighbor Rescues Hound From Icy Lake

Red the bassett hound fell through ice at dog beach

Red, the bassett hound, almost ended up as a pup-sicle after taking an unexpected dip in Lake Michigan on Monday before a neighbor came to the rescue on a north suburban beach.

Eleni O'Connor -- Red's owner -- and her neighbor Richard Laible, both of Winnetka, took their dogs to the Gillson Park dog beach in Wilmette at about 8:30 a.m. Monday.

The shore was still crusted with ice, but other dogs were running up and down the beach without a problem, O'Connor said.

Unfortunately for Red, bassetts aren't skinny dogs, and what looked like a solid chunk of ice and sand wasn't. The 40-pound hound crashed through into the frigid water.

He kept his head above the ice by wiggling his paws as fast as he could, but, "Eventually, he stopped treading water and flipped over sideways," O'Connor said.

That might have been the end had it not been for Laible, who rushed out onto the ice.

"They have what, 3-inch legs? I thought, 'Oh man, this doesn't look good,' " he said. "I saw him lurch up like the Titanic, and then his head went under."

But as Laible made his way toward Red, the ice gave out again. He fell into chest-deep water. But he wasn't going back to the beach without the hound.

"His head was under, so I just grabbed him and pushed him up onto the ice," Laible said.

Other than being cold and wet, both Laible and Red were fine after the rescue.

O'Connor said she was grateful Laible was there, and was impressed with his heroic feat. "I can't believe the dog is alive," she said.

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