A man is being called a hero after saving a dog that was lost on a Lake Michigan ice float.
Pifas is a three-year-old golden retriever mix, and was spotted by Dave Kehnast about half a mile out on the lake.
When Kehnast saw him, he put on his wetsuit and boarded his kayak to rescue the dog.
He attempted to grab the dog, but it was clear he was distrusting of him. Instead, he started instructing the dog and guiding him out of the water.
He called for him and the dog soon jumped into the water. After he was in the freezing lake, Kehnast guided him back to land.
“I was up on the fire escape there on the seventh floor and I saw him way out there, and so I grabbed the kayak and went out there,” Kehnast said.
It turns out, Pifas went missing over a week ago when he was out on a walk with his owner Nerijus Steponavicius. When Kehnast saved him, he was starving and confused.
“I just kept encouraging him, ‘here boy, here boy, here boy,’” Kehnast said. “I got really close to him and he wanted to bite me so I just stayed on me and at that point I could get into the water and just hustled him along. I wanted to just grab him because it was shallow enough where I could stand, and I just wanted to get my hands on him but he wanted to bite me, it looked like. He didn’t want anyone touching him.”
It was clear Pifas just wanted to get back to his owner, as once he reached land, he took off running.
Authorities soon caught up with the dog, however, as he did not have much energy to run very far. The put him in a white utility van and took him to a shelter.
“We responded and found the dog quite a distance offshore, maybe close to half a mile off shore, running around on the icebergs out there and falling through to the open water,” Chicago Fire Department Deputy District Chief Ron Dorneker said.
“We used a helicopter to try and move the dog a little closer to shoreline, we brought a boat in.”
The dog is expected to be united with his owner on Sunday, after Steponavicius heard from his family that his dog was on the news.