Yesterday one of the stories on the news was about a black Belgian Shepherd that was rescued from icy Lake Michigan yesterday. The poor thing was discovered without any identification whatsoever; no collar and no microchip and has yet to be claimed. The question that dog lovers everywhere want to know is where in the world is the dog’s owner?
When every rescue and shelter around warns against letting dogs out for more than a brief moment, here is a dog located on Lake Michigan near Jackson Harbor at 7:30 in the morning! Something seems wrong with this picture – especially since Chicago Animal Care and Control still has not located the owner and no one has stepped forward to claim this remarkably cute dog!
When dogs are allowed off their leash to wander around freely in these sub-zero temperatures, they can easily become disoriented because the snow and ice affects their sense of smell and therefore they can become lost. That is why it is so important to keep your dog close and just as a precaution, to make certain that their identification tags are fastened securely to their collar at all times.
This poor dog may have become lost and disoriented and ended up on the frozen section of the Lake. Then when the Chicago Police Department Marine Unit sent one of their rescuers to help the dog, he got afraid and ran further out onto the lake. A tranquilizer was required to calm the dog enough to be able to rescue him. The rescue took place three hours after the dog was initially spotted.
A dog that is outside for long periods of time can be the reason for the dog to freeze to death. This is the same reason not to keep your dog in the car for long periods of time. Pads and tummies can become encrusted with ice that may contain salt, antifreeze or other dangerous chemicals. If the dog ingests any of those items, it could be deadly.
This one-year-old dog was very fortunate! The rescue was successful and he was put into the care of Chicago Animal Care and Control. His health seems to be in order. At least the Shepherd had longer hair to protect him while out on his adventure.
The question still remains though, how long had the dog been out on his own; is he a stray? Did he have enough food/protein to sustain him in these temperatures? If he had been able to get home, would he have a safe and warm place to sleep?
Thanks to WLS and ABC News out of Chicago for the data on the Shepherd and to the ASPCA for the winter weather care tips. Hopefully the dog will get home safely and its owners will be more responsible in the future or the dog will get an actual loving home to go to in just a short while!