Man Claiming to be Owner of Dog Found on Ice Awaits Reunion

Pifas got loose Feb. 13 while Nerijus Steponavicius was at school

The owner of a dog found floating on ice floes Friday afternoon wasn't able to claim his pup today, but will be reunited once more Sunday afternoon.

Nerijus Steponavicius claimed his lost dog at Animal Care & Control Friday night and was told he could pick him up Saturday afternoon, but now he must wait for retreiver to be neutered and microchipped before he can go home.

Steponavicius said he will be back with his father Sunday afternoon to pick up the dog, but was happy he was able to see his beloved pup this afternoon.

"He's really shy and he started jumping," Steponavicius said.

Steponavicius said the dog had no history of running away and would have never run away if he was there.

He planned to take his pup to his parents house to play with their two labs, but that trip will have to wait.

"I’m just a real disappointed," he said

Rescue crews captured the dog at about 4:30 p.m. Friday after he was seen jumping from ice floe to ice floe off Howard Street Beach.

The dog's name is reportedly "Pifas," and he got loose nine days ago when Steponavicius'  landlord was changing locks while Steponavicius was at school. He's posted several notices on Facebook about his missing dog and said he drove straight to Animal Control when his sister called him to tell him about a dog on the ice.

A quick comparison of photos assured him the dog was his and he immediately rushed to Animal Care & Control, he said.

Pifas was about 200 feet off the shore of Lake Michigan when word reached fire officials about an animal on the ice.

Rogers Park neighbor Dave Kenhast also saw the dog and jumped into action, grabbing his wetsuit and kayak to hit the water. Fire officials responded with a boat and a helicopter.

With Kenhast inching close, Pifas jumped about the ice fragments, sometimes landing in the icy water and pulling himself out.

"I wanted to just grab him because it was shallow enough where I could stand, and I just wanted to get my hands on him but he wanted to bite me, it looked like. He didn't want anyone touching him," said Kehnast.

Eventually, the dog jumped into Lake Michigan and swam the short distance to the snowy shore. He took off from there, eluding authorities as he ran around nearby apartment complexes.

Crews eventually caught up with the exhausted animal and ushered it into the back of a white utility van.

"The biggest lesson, once again: keep those dogs on leashes along the lakefront in the wintertime," said Chicago Fire Department Deputy District Chief Ron Dorneker. "This is what can happen when they get out there on that ice and they fall through and they get a distance off-shore. It gets to be dangerous for them and for us."

Steponavicius said he's looking forward to showing his appreciation to those who helped rescue Pifas. More importantly, though, he said he's looking forward to his reunion with Pifas.

Animal Guided Back to Shore
Dog Roams Neighborhood
Animal Eventually Captured


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