Pifas, a three-year-old golden retriever mix, was rescued by a kind stranger who helped guide the dog to safety after it became stranded on a block of ice in a frozen lake.
NBCNews.com reports that Pifas disappeared from his owner’s home and was missing for over a week before he was spotted some 200 feet from shore on Lake Michigan by local resident Dave Kehnast.
“I was up on the fire escape there on the seventh floor and I saw him way out there, and so I grabbed the kayak and went out there,” Kehnast said.
When Kehnast realized the dog was not able to get back to shore on his own, he donned a wetsuit, got into a kayak and headed out to save the starving and confused dog, according to Opposing View.
Pifas’ owner, Nerijus Steponavicius, said the dog had gotten out while his landlord was changing locks on the doors to his apartment building while Steponavicius was at school for the day.
Kehnast says Pifas was too afraid and confused to be picked up. Instead, Kehnast had to yell commands and encouragement to the dog to help guide him back to shore.
“I just kept encouraging him, ‘here boy, here boy, here boy,’” Kehnast told Opposing Views. “I got really close to him and he wanted to bite me so I just stayed on me and at that point I could get into the water and just hustled him along. I wanted to just grab him because it was shallow enough where I could stand, and I just wanted to get my hands on him but he wanted to bite me, it looked like. He didn’t want anyone touching him.”
The Chicago Fire Department also assisted, flying in a helicopter to help drive Pifas closer to shore.
After Pifas made it back to shore, he was taken to a nearby veterinary clinic for recovery and monitoring. He was reunited with Steponavicius, who reportedly learned of his dog’s rescue after family members alerted him to stories appearing on the news.
"He's really shy and he started jumping," Steponavicius said.
Of course, it was not an entirely happy ending for the adventurous golden retriever. Officials said Pifas had to be neutered before they agreed to turn him back over to his owner.