Dog helps save elderly owner who fell through the ice: ‘Better give the dog a ribeye’

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A 65-year-old man walking his dog across a frozen lake Thursday in East Bay Township, Michigan, fell through the ice and into the frigid depths below. Shoreside witnesses called 911, prompting a rapid response by Michigan State Police officer Kammeron Bennetts.

While quick to the scene, Bennetts, 30, still had to figure out how to mount a rescue without similarly ending up trapped on the wrong side of the lake. Fortunately, the waterlogged man’s Brittany bird-hunting dog was more than willing to help.

Bodycam footage shows a bystander point out a dog-shadowed gap on Arbutus Lake where the Traverse City man went under. The officer grabs a rescue disc from his cruiser, fastens a rope to it, then heads out onto the ice.

Although able to venture roughly 40 feet away from shore, Bennetts nevertheless falls short of the man’s position due to his uncertainty about the solidity of the ice ahead. The officer tosses the rescue disc to the man. While unsuccessful, the initial attempt excites the dog, giving Bennetts an idea.

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“You revert to the tools in front of you. I only had a dog in front of me, so use the dog,” Bennetts later
told People. “I saw she was ready to go to work.”

“Send your pup here. Will she come to me?” Bennetts can be heard yelling to the man steeped in freezing water.

The man indicates the dog’s name is Ruby.

“Ruby, come here! Come here, Ruby!” yells the officer.

After some whistling and another summons, the dog comes bolting over to Bennetts.

“Will she get ahold of this?” asks the officer, coiling the rope. Ruby quickly indicates she’s ready to do that and more.

After fastening the disc and rope to Ruby’s collar, Bennetts yells, “Call her! Call her!”

Bennetts, who has been on the force for two years, later indicated, “Within a minute your dexterity in your fingers goes, you lose speech, you lose everything.”

Although ultimately in the water for 16 minutes, the Traverse City man nevertheless manages to call Ruby. The dog brings the disc over to her master. With a direct line to the man, Bennetts tells him to take the disc and begin kicking his legs.

The MSP officer begins pulling the man to shore with Ruby providing emotional support. A firefighter from Grand Traverse Metro Fire Department soon leaps into action, joining Bennetts in the rescue.

After the incident, the officer suggested to the Traverse City man, “You better give the dog a ribeye.”

According to the MSP, the man was transported by ambulance to Munson Medical Center and later released.

The MSP Seventh District
stated on X, “Great team work and well done!”

The MSP Sixth District noted, “What a good girl!!! … Creative thinking helped save a life!!!”

Michigan State Police Lt. Derrick Carroll told People, “Everyone is impressed by [Bennetts’] ability to take control of the situation and his ability to think outside the box to rescue the man in such a timely manner.”

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