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Duluth firefighters brave big Lake Superior waves, frigid temps to save dog in canal

Duluth firefighter rescues dog from freezing water
Duluth firefighter rescues dog from freezing water 00:34

DULUTH, Minn. — Firefighters battled bitterly-cold temperatures and huge Lake Superior waves to save a dog who jumped into a Duluth shipping canal last week.

The Duluth Fire Department says crews were called to the Aerial Lift Bridge Thursday night after a woman reported her dog was in the water.

Crews had some initial difficulty pinpointing the dog's location, but soon found him "struggling" in eight-foot-plus waves near the south pier.

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Firefighters in ice rescue suits jumped in, but had trouble seeing the dark-colored dog due to a lack of lighting in the area, and because he repeatedly kept going underwater. DFD says the dog's owner helped guide rescuers with portable lights and by shouting directions.

They were eventually able to grab the dog by its collar.


"The dog was large, scared and was struggling, which added to the difficulty," DFD said.

Crew members in the department's 14-foot inflatable boat were eventually able to pull the dog and firefighters on board.

In a Facebook post, fire officials said before crews arrived, the owner was reportedly going to jump in herself to get her dog, but was stopped by bystanders.

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"The Duluth Fire Department wants to stress to the public the importance of not putting yourself into a situation you are neither trained nor equipped to handle. This will not only put you at risk but the emergency responders as well. It will also greatly limit the options we have to try to save your pet as all efforts will now be directed at saving you," DFD officials said. "Given the wave and temperature conditions in the canal last night, anyone entering the water without the proper training and equipment would most likely have ended in tragedy."

The dog was treated for exposure at the scene, and was soon able to "walk on his own and was (wagging) his tail as he jumped into his owner's car," DFD said.

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