A New Jersey patrol officer volunteered to brave a thin sheet of ice to save a hapless dog that had fallen into freezing waters. A fellow officer's body camera recorded the daring and successful rescue (video below).
On Dec. 15, a 1-year-old Rottweiler named Nisel fell into the backyard pond of her owner's home during a frigid night in Hopewell Township, New Jersey, NJ.com reports.
Nisel was unable to climb her way out of the freezing waters. Fishing out the endangered pooch was a risky proposition that required a human reaching out from a brittle slab of ice. Carolyn Wooley, the dog's owner, was terrified for her safety.
"There was absolutely no way she could have gotten out herself," Wooley told WCBS.
Hopewell Township police officers Robert Voorhees and George Peterson responded to the scene along with emergency services specialist Dave VanDoren. Voorhees swiftly decided to extract Nisel as swiftly as possible, even if doing so would pose a danger to himself.
"They were trying to blow up a raft and one officer said he wasn't waiting," Wooley recounted.
Voorhees tied a retention rope around his waist, got down on his stomach and slid his body out to the water's edge. Peterson's body camera captured the perilous operation. The officers feared that Nisel didn't have much time left.
"We could tell she was getting tired out there," Peterson said.
The officer's body camera footage showed Voorhees gradually sliding himself closer to the trapped dog, careful to let his weight distribute evenly across the ice.
"He's coming, Nisel," Wooley called out to her panicking puppy.
Nisel swam close to the edge to meet Voorhees, who yanked her out of the cold waters by her collar.
"We've got to warm this dog up," Voorhees told Wooley.
The officer added: "I've got a puppy at home, I was like, crying."
Wooley, grateful and relieved, hugged the officer and thanked him. Voorhees explained to reporters that he had previously participated in polar bear plunges during several Special Olympics and felt prepared to handle freezing temperatures if he had fallen in with Nisel.
"Officers Voorhees and Peterson, along with their fellow emergency responders, did a great job Friday night," Hopewell Police Chief Lance Maloney told WKXW. "I am not surprised by Officer Voorhees’ actions as I know how much he cares for animals, especially dogs. I am glad that Nisel is doing well and I am very proud of Officers Voorhees and Peterson."