Firefighters rescue dog from Wolf River
Golden Retriever escapes yard, falls through ice
By Scott Bellile
A dog is safe after firefighters rescued it from the icy Wolf River last weekend.
New London Fire Department was paged to 210 Woodlane Drive at 9:15 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 8.
There, a 6-year-old Golden Retriever named Max had fallen through the ice. Max’s owner reported the dog had been missing for about 20 minutes.
New London Fire Lt. Ted Coppersmith, who rescued Max, said the call was timed perfectly because he was already at the fire station completing a report following a busy night of fire department calls.
Between approximately 1:30 to 2:30 a.m., the fire department had responded to a crash on Wyman Street by Pershing Road, a carbon monoxide call at a home on East Washington Street and a lift assist call on Oshkosh Street.
Upon receiving the page, Fire Capt. Bernie Ritchie and Coppersmith arrived to the river in less than seven minutes. Ritchie drove the truck while Coppersmith changed into a water rescue suit in the backseat to save time.
Max had been in the backyard attached to a cable when he apparently broke free and wandered into the river, New London Fire Capt. Don Conat said. Max was treading water upon firefighters’ arrival.
Coppersmith shimmied onto the ice wearing a tether rope and grabbed the Golden Retriever.
“As soon as the dog saw me, it just got really excited,” Coppersmith said. “It was like, ‘Help me!’”
Firefighters pulled Coppersmith’s rope to bring the two back to shore.
Max appeared tired from treading water and his face was frozen over, Coppersmith said.
The dog headed straight for the house and warmed up inside, Conat said.
The Press Star was unable to reach Max’s owner, Kinsley Rathman, for comment.
Firefighters train for rescue situations every year. Coppersmith said it was great to put their practice to use in a scenario that went smoothly.
NLPD typically conducts dog rescues once or twice per year, usually with positive endings. Recent events include:
• In June, firefighters saved a dog from a burning house on Collier Road in the town of Lebanon.
• In September 2017, firefighters rescued a dog that had been trapped in the underground portion of a farm silo on Prahl Road in the town of Mukwa.
• In October 2016, one dog died and firefighters saved two others from a house fire on Quincy Street in New London.
• A few winters ago, one dog drowned while another was saved in two separate fire department calls to the Wolf River in the town of Mukwa. Each time, one of the dogs had escaped from their home on Driftwood Road and entered the river.