Beware! The ice in this balmy season is dangerous for people and their four-legged friends alike
By Anya Tikka
DINGMAN TOWNSHIP — When passer-by Betsy Daniels saw something like a black dot on the lake next to Camp Netimus off Raymondskill Road on the second day of the year, she stopped her car and got out.
Looking closer, she saw two dogs on the lake.
“There was a black dog on the lake, and a blond retriever type dog had fallen thorough the ice,” she recounted. “I called 911, and asked them to come right away.”
She wouldn’t have been able to rescue the dog on her own. So when a young man drove by in a large truck, she hailed him to come to the rescue.
She thought he’d been delivering something like an appliance to Camp Netimus, a summer girls camp on the lake.
The Good Samaritan — she never got his name in all the excitement — got out some rope from the back of his truck and started toward the lake.
“I was afraid he was going to fall in, so I said to him, 'We’ve got to find a boat,'” she said.
They went to where the camp boats are kept, and together started to push a metal boat on the ice.
The man kept pushing the boat toward the dogs, ignoring the danger, and succeeded in pulling the dog out of water.
“The dog was soaking wet," she said. "I went to my car to get a blanket since it must have been freezing. But both dogs ran off! I was surprised it had the energy — I thought it would be beat,” she continued, referring to the dog that almost drowned.
Both dogs had tags on. Daniels thinks they probably live somewhere nearby.
“Without him, the dog would have died,” she said of the brave mystery rescuer, discounting her own part in the incident.
But if she’d not flagged the driver down, he may not have noticed what was happening on the lake.
Meanwhile, Milford fire chief Tony Mann arrived, but the dog was already out of the water.
“Then everybody took off,” Daniels said in a phone call.
Mann said the department is always ready to help with divers that have special equipment and training, if needed.
She kept stressing that the truck driver saved the dog’s life. She offered him a cup of coffee, but he said he was already late for something and left.
Messages to Camp Netimus were not returned by press time.
With wild fluctuations in temperature recently, and more in the forecast, venturing onto the ice can be treacherous. Avoid going on lakes and streams unnecessarily, Daniels advised.
“I think maybe it’s a good omen for 2017, on the second day of the year,” Daniels said.