Firefighter Breaks Path Through Frozen Pond to Rescue Golden Retriever

"All I did was cut a path in the ice so he can get himself out,” said firefighter David Mangold.

A golden retriever stuck in a frozen pond made it back to shore, all thanks to the bravery of a Montana firefighter.

“We were riding a high that day, it’s nice to have good outcomes,” said David Mangold, 41, of the Whitefish Police Department.

Mangold, who has been a volunteer firefighter since he was a teen, told they got a call about midday about a dog that wandered into a frozen lake and was trapped in the icy water.

“The original report was that the owner was trying to help his dog,” Mangold said. “That is always a concern to use because the main reason we respond to animal rescues is to help people that don’t have the correct equipment on the ice instead of them.”

The police department had already convinced the owner to get off the ice by the time Mangold arrived, and Mangold was caught on camera braving the cold water and breaking a path through the ice for the pup to swim ashore.

“Basically all I did was cut a path in the ice so he can get himself out,” he explained. “The ice wouldn’t support my weight [and] as soon as I got to the dog I tried to put him on the rescue sled but the dog had other ideas and he wanted to swim to the shore on his own.”

The dog was alive and healthy by the time he was reunited with his owners, who were so thankful that they gifted the fire department training equipment the following day.

“She brought in some life vests for us to do some dog training resuscitations,” Mangold said. “Thanks to the dog owner now we have some training tools to actually practice with them.”

As ponds and rivers around the United States freeze over during the winter, Mangold said he wants the public to know that if their animal wanders to the ice to wait for professionals to come save them.

“Please don’t go out and try to get them. If a 55-pound dog went through the ice there is no way that you will be able to get to that animal,” Mangold warned. “Leave it to the professionals, and the equipment we have is phenomenal. I wasn’t wet from being out there and was hot and sweaty underneath the suit.”