Nfld. & Labrador·Audio

Pet dog rescued from icy pond by father and son in Isle aux Morts

A pet owner living in Isle aux Morts is breathing a huge sigh of relief after her dog escaped a sticky situation after finding himself trapped on thin ice.
Ross and Chad Skinner rescued Boston the dog after he got stuck on the ice at a pond in Isle aux Morts. 2:55

It sounds like every pet owner's worst nightmare. An open door, a missing dog, and a patch of really thin ice.

That's the scenario that played out right in front of Dawn Lawrence's eyes on Saturday in Isle aux Morts, on Newfoundland's southwest coast.

"I have two kids, four and two, and one of them was having a sleepover and they let the dog out," she said.

Lawrence said her dog Boston routinely gets out of the house, but because she was the only one home to watch the kids, she couldn't go out and look for him.

When he didn't return or answer her calls, she wondered what was going on. 

"Eventually, I got a phone call from a friend just down the road and she asked if my dog was home," she said.

"I made a joke about, why, what did he do?"

According to her neighbour, it looked like there was a dog out on the pond near Lawrence's house. 

Sure enough, a string of paw prints led to Boston standing in the centre of the pond. 

"He just sat there paralyzed in fear," said Lawrence. "He watched me walk all the way around [the pond], I had treats with me but he wouldn't move."

Crowd witnessed rescue

Boston's antics attracted an audience.

Lawrence said around six trucks were parked outside of the pond, observing the escalating situation.

Boston is greeted by onlookers after being rescued from the ice. (Submitted )

The thin ice surrounding Boston made him hesitant to leave the spot he was in. 

She said Ross Skinner and his son Chad were watching the dog, and went back home to grab a boat to see if they could rescue Boston that way.

Meanwhile, Lawrence wondered what she would tell her young children if something were to happen to the dog.

"My two-year-old and my four-year-old were pressed to the front of my house watching out of the window," she said. "I can not come home and tell four kids that their dog just drowned."

When the two men returned with the boat, they paddled out through the ice to rescue Boston.

"I was frightened that would startle him to make him go away, because he usually doesn't like strangers going near him." said Lawrence.

"But Ross waded in halfway up to his knees, and they got him with no trouble at all."

After an intense few minutes, Boston was back on the shore, safe and sound.

Nobody was happier than Boston's family.

Boston's family was thrilled to have Boston home, welcoming him back with cuddles and affection. (Dawn Lawrence)

"They cuddled him and jumped on him and everybody was trying to keep him warm with blankets".

It's an experience that has Lawrence feeling thankful for the sense of community in the small town of Isle Aux Morts.

"I'm not from here originally. It's a very small community about 600 people," she said, "That sort of coming togetherness, you don't see as much in the big place."

"It made me feel more at home."

About the Author

Andrew Sampson is a journalist with CBC News in St. John's.