A five-month-old dog was rescued in dramatic fashion from the frigid waters of Lake Ontario by the Toronto Police Naval Unit on Thursday morning.
The puppy, named Lola, and its owner were out on the lakefront walking around 9:30 a.m. when the dog ended up in the water, just outside the Toronto Naval Division at the waterfront between Strachan Avenue and Bathurst Street. The puppy's howls could be heard from around the area.
Sherry Colbourne, a resident in a nearby townhome, came out to her balcony to see what the commotion was. As she looked on, the puppy was pulled up to land by her owner. But then she says the dog became scared and "freaked out."
"No sooner had they got the pup on dry land, she bolted off the dock and back onto the ice, running towards Ontario Place," says Colbourne. "I followed via binoculars as the guys ran after the dog who made a broad circle back towards Alexandria Yacht Club."
Colbourne called the Toronto Police Marine Unit who responded immediately and joined the chase for the puppy.
"[Lola] wouldn't respond to the officers calls and eventually ended up back in the water, this time slipping under the ice in front of Alexandria Yacht Club," she recalls.
At that point, the dog was trapped under the ice of Lake Ontario with temperatures lower than -15 C and the water much colder.
"The dog was pretty much frozen," said Toronto police Const. Natasha Zver.
"So I jumped in and found her underneath the dock, underneath the boardwalk and she was frozen to a pole," says Zyer. "So I grabbed hold of her, kept her under my arm, and my partner tried to help pull me up, and we were stuck because I just had one arm to hang onto."
Again the dog became scared, and it took several more attempts to get Lola out of the water.
While Zver was in the water with the puppy, her partner Const. Kevin Lee lowered himself down, with the dog's owner anchoring him so he didn't fall in. He grabbed Lola "by the scruff of the neck and then was able to get his arms underneath and lift the dog out," said Zver. "And we slowly lifted the dog out but she kept on freezing to the poles every time she touched the pole. But we got her out and so she's back with her owner safe and sound."
Colbourne said she was so impressed with what happened, she and her husband walked over to the Toronto Police Marine Unit and to shake the hands of the officers who saved Lola.
"The Toronto Police Marine Unit actually put an officer in the water to rescue this little pup," says Colbourne. "What an inspiring way to start 2014! Toronto the Good indeed!"