Pictures tell story of dog rescued from icy lake

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – For 42 years, James Forbes has been looking through his lens and telling stories.

But Sunday he saw one happen right before his very eyes.

“As soon as I walked up the firemen stepped out on the ice, and I realized I was right at the beginning of the event, not the end,” says St. Louis Post Dispatch Chief Photographer James Forbes.  “That’s when I ran back to the car and grabbed this monster.”

It was his long lens which he uses on the weekend to shoot the Cardinals, Rams, or some eagles near Alton, Illinois.

But Sunday, Forbes was determined to tell the story of a Doberman that got away from his owner.

“But he said it took one look at those geese and just raced out there, and he couldn’t stop it,” says Forbes.

The dripping wet dog had been in the icy water in O’Fallon Park in north St. Louis for at least 20 minutes.

“If I can tell the complete story from start to finish, all the better with my camera,” says Forbes.  “That’s kind of what that showed there.”

When it was all said and done, it was just another day for rescue squad number one.

“Happy ending all around,” says Forbes.

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They’re the pictures in Monday’s Post-Dispatch that tell the story of a polar plunge to save man’s best friend.

“Once we got on the thinner ice, and it started to break, that’s when you have to kind of rethink things and depend on your support team to give you a tug and get you back to some thicker ice so you can get your footing,” says Demetris Alfred of the St. Louis Fire Department`s Rescue Squad #1.

For fireman Demetris Alfred, getting his footing wasn’t easy in the icy lake at O’Fallon Park in North St. Louis yesterday.

His Rescue Squad Number One got the call about a dripping wet Doberman that needed help.

“Two to three feet away the dog started to go under,” says Alfred. “That’s when we really sprang into action. Stan lunged forward, grabbed him and kept his head above water. I got the ladder underneath him and we got him up and got him placed.”

For Alfred it wasn’t just a potential dog drowning that had his crew on alert.

“Someone owns the dog, and it’s almost like a family member,” says Patrick Clark.

“Absolutely,” adds Alfred.  “I love my dog, and it’d be tough to stand on dry ground while my dog is stuck in the water. It’d be really tough.”

But after 20 minutes and some warm blankets, this tale had a happy ending.

“You like to win a few, this is our job so you’d like to win a few,” says Alfred.

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