Darren Doyle, story and photos
Passionate dog owners see their dogs not just as animals, but members of their own families. Sparky, our two-year old yellow lab is no different, and we're exceptionally proud of him today.
Sparky came to the back door early this morning howling and crying in a bark that I'd never heard from him, one that was eerily similar to a coyote howl. He has several different barks and sounds: playful, stranger alert, stray dog, and even an "I hate these dang birds" bark, but this was none of those.
As I opened the door, he continued crying while walking backwards toward our swimming pool, which was around the corner of the house, out of view. As I started toward the pool, Sparky took off like a bullet.
When I turned the corner, I saw Sam, the neighbor's 95 lb 7-year old German Shepherd in our pool, trapped in ice where he had fallen through. Thankfully, the combination of the low water level and Sam's height had allowed him to stay above water as he clung to a large chunk of ice. Sparky was on his belly with his front paws in the pool in a paddling motion, as if he was trying to reach for Sam.
I was able to reach one of Sam's paws from the edge of the pool and pull him out, while Sparky barked and cheered us on. Sam sat down on our deck for a few seconds while Sparky climbed on top of him with a bear hug. They celebrated with a short round of playful wrestling.
Sam got back up, shook off the ice, and walked back home, which is just a couple houses down from us. Our neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Tom Suoy, assured us that Sam was ok and they were very grateful to Sparky for letting someone know.
"Dogs have such personalities if you treat them right," said Suoy. "They also make strong friendships and bonds with other dogs like Sam did here."
Sam's owners wrapped him up in a warm blanket and said he would be just fine. Sparky was rewarded with some animal crackers, his favorite treat, while he played around in the wet snow, and soon he was back to barking at those dang birds.
Last week, we reported an attempted burglary that was stopped thanks to a barking dog. Today it was helping another dog in trouble. What about tomorrow? Maybe we should listen more to our dogs instead of these loudmouths running for President. The dogs seem to have much more insight...