On the last day of 2022, a Coast Guard operation near Belle Isle in Detroit turned out to be anything but routine.
Normally, the Detroit sector of the Coast Guard sends out a five-man team in a truck to patrol the shoreline and check ice conditions to make sure people aren’t in harm’s way. But on this day, just after noon, the victim was a small white dog with a distinctive black eye patch who had fallen into the river without a way out.
“We don’t usually launch for them,” explained Ensign Adeeb Ahmad, a spokesman. “But since we were out and about, we helped.”
That meant sending one member of the crew from the Belle Isle Station — 22-year-old Petty Officer Cole Harper — out onto the thin ice near Grayhaven Island to pull the struggling dog out of the frigid water.
Wearing a dry suit and tethered to the rest of the team by a rope, Harper approached the dog, lifted it out of the water and held on as dog and brave rescuer were pulled back to safety.
“The dog was welcoming and pretty grateful from what I heard. And pretty happy,” Ahmad said.
After the rescue, the dog was handed over to the city’s animal control. But the episode left a lasting impression with at least one of the crew members.
“One of the crew members said he told his wife that if no one claims the dog, he’d like to adopt it,” Ahmad said.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: A dog stranded in the icy Detroit River is saved by Coast Guard