A dog that ventured out onto an icy pond while chasing birds on Long Island after a snowstorm Wednesday morning was rescued after it fell into the frigid water and frantically pawed at a chunk of ice to stay afloat.
Mary Ann Nesdill, of Rockville Centre, told NBC 4 New York she was walking her dog, Teddy, a 3-year-old Labrador/border collie mix, through Hempstead Lake State Park when the pup heard birds in the distance and took off.
Nesdill said the 90-pound dog was on a leash but pulled away and ran through a gap in some fencing along the walking path.
He ran down a hill and onto the lake, where he fell through and began yelping.
"I thought I was going to lose him -- he was howling, and when I looked out, half of his body was in the water and the other half pawing at a piece of ice that was keeping him afloat," she said.
Nesdill said Teddy was in the water for about 30 minutes as firefighters responded to the lake and went after him.
Firefighter Danny Leboff, 21, crawled out onto the lake for about 250 feet to reach Teddy, as the ice cracked beneath him.
"The dog kept yowling, and I knew I had to get him," said Leboff, who has his own Labrador at home.
Leboff said Teddy was shivering and had ice around his middle when he was pulled from the water. Firefighters placed him on a raft and pulled him across the frozen lake.
Dr. John Foy, the veterinarian who treated Teddy, said the dog was lucky to survive the ordeal.
"Had he spent more than 30 minutes in there, I'm not sure he would have made it," Foy said.