Kalida and Continental Fire & Rescue squads joined forces to help rescue a small dog from a frozen pond near Cloverdale on Thursday. (DHI Media/Martin Verni)
Kalida and Continental Fire & Rescue squads joined forces to help rescue a small dog from a frozen pond near Cloverdale on Thursday. (DHI Media/Martin Verni)
CLOVERDALE — A reminder to pet owners as wintry weather advances this season. Those with dogs who love to run, and perhaps enjoy an occasional game of chase with nearby ducks, can easily find themselves on thin ice, literally. Keeping your pet on a leash when outdoors is always advised.

Such an incident occurred this past Thursday, Nov. 14, at approximately 9:30 a.m. That’s roughly the time when the sheriff’s office received a call regarding a dog stranded on ice on a pond near 22148 Road J in the Cloverdale area. Kalida Fire & Rescue quickly responded, along with mutual aid assistance from Continental Fire & Rescue.

Upon arrival at the scene, firefighters encountered a small, scared dog named Kozy who had run onto a partially frozen pond. Kozy had seemingly realized her mistake and was now refusing to move from her position atop the thin ice. Concerned that a firefighter attempting a rescue might cause the ice to break up, or possibly spook the dog, causing her to bolt towards open water and increased danger, the responders instead improvised their rescue.

A thick rope was pulled taut over the pond, separating Kozy’s location from the open water just a few feet away. Slowly, the firefighters used the rope to sometimes coax and sometimes drag the dog towards the shore. After approximately 10 fretful minutes, she was safe. Soon thereafter, Kozy was warming up inside the owner’s daughter’s van.

Only then did the emotions break for Judy Spitnale, Kozy’s owner. Relieved by the rescue, her pent-up worry over the incident came tumbling out. “I just kept thinking, oh my gosh that ice is going to break,” she says. “I fell down, and thought ‘Well, I can’t get any closer to the water.’”

Mrs. Spitnale then described how the incident had initially started, saying, “She was out. I was right outside with her. I was doing something outside, and I saw my daughter coming down the road. I went back inside to get my coat, and she was just, she was gone.”

“And then I couldn’t see her. My daughter drove down [towards a neighbor’s house], and she said, ‘Well, she’s down there on the ice.’ [Kozy] loves those ducks. I suspect she saw them there.”

Showing a bit of exhaustion from the ordeal, Mrs. Spitnale then let out a long sigh, saying, “I got my dog back.”

“Now she’s going to be on a chain and rope even when she’s in the house,” she continues. “She’s a sneaky thing. I try to go out, and she’s under the feet, and she’s out.”

“I got her from Mike over there at the Putnam County Animal Shelter. He’s so caring about those critters. He was good enough, he stayed even, because I was a little bit late, and he stayed. And he says, ‘Make sure you shut the door.’ That should have been my clue right there. Shut that door.”

Again, as winter makes itself increasingly well known in the area, that’s good advice for all pet owners.