Dogs Best Friend

Wednesday, February 8, 2012 - 3:40pm

Firefighter plunges into icy Colorado pond to save dog.

A Colorado man's dog is alive thanks to a firefighter who pulled the dog out of an icy pond on Tuesday afternoon.

Max is an 85-pound Argentine Mastiff, a breed known as a hunting dog.

Max's owner says he was doing his business off-leash on Tuesday around 5:30 p.m. when he spotted a coyote running out of a bush.

Max took off and chased the coyote on to the ice of Lakewood's Smith Reservoir.

Max spent 20 minutes in the freezing water before firefighters with the West Metro Fire Department arrived.

Firefighter Tyler Sugaski put on his wetsuit and went out as far as he could to get Max.

When Sugaski fell through into the water, he broke the ice with his arms to get closer to the dog.

"The dog recognized right off that I was there to help, so he came towards me," Sugaski recalled.

Sugaski helped Max along as much as he could, and when Max was on thicker ice he made a run towards land where he was met by his owner, Michael Robinson.

"He's just a rock solid dog," Robinson said.

When firefighters got a hold of Max, they warmed him up in an ambulance.

As any dog owner can imagine, the moments were terrifying for Robinson.

"I just kept yelling at him, 'Come on boy,' and kept whistling. It was like a lap pool. He just kept swimming circles," Robinson said.

Robinson contemplated running after Max, but he tested the ice first.

"I start heaving the boulder hoping the ice is thick enough to hold me, but it didn't. It broke through," Robinson said.

Max has a few scrapes from the ice, but is doing just fine now.

"He's our family member, he's like a son in a sense. I thank everyone involved for responding, for showing up, for being there," Robinson said.

Sugaski, who owns two dogs himself, says he's a big dog lover who also loves his job.

Those two combined to make a textbook rescue.

"Glad he can be back with his owner, and he's happy and will live to walk around the lake more, hopefully on a leash in the future," Sugaski said while laughing.

Firefighters were never able to locate the coyote Max was chasing after.

Firefighters say this is a good reminder that people, as much as they love their pets, should not chase them on ice.

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