A Clinton Twp., N.J., police officer is being credited with saving two dogs from drowning in an icy pond.
According to Thursday's NJ.com news, a Great Dane and a German shepherd were running loose on Jan. 22. Neither dog had an owner nearby, and neither was wearing a collar.
A resident in the area, Jackie Cocchiola, thought that she knew who the dogs belonged to and attempted to walk with the dogs to that individual's house.
After making some phone calls, she discovered that the dogs did not belong to the person that she thought they did. Perplexed about what to do with two large, stray dogs, Cocchiola phoned the Clinton Police Department for help.
Before help could arrive, the dogs vanished. A quick search of the area revealed a horrible sight, the dogs had plunged through a thin layer of ice on a nearby pond and were submerged in frigid water.
Cocchiola, along with another woman who had stopped to help, were frantic to get the dogs out of the water. They phoned the police again and then flagged down a delivery driver who did his best to build a bridge of some sort to reach the flailing dogs, but he was unable to reach them.
Shortly thereafter, the hero of the story arrived.
Sgt. Matt Wilson with the Clinton Twp. Police Department did not hesitate to venture out onto the ice to rescue the struggling dogs.
Sgt. Wilson, armed with a lasso and focused on saving the dogs, ventured out onto the water.
Cocchiola described what she saw:
"He was totally focused on getting those dogs out,"
"He was incredible, he really was . . . I get emotional just thinking about it."
At one point, Sgt. Wilson plunged into the frigid water too. He was undeterred in his efforts, effectively lassoing the Great Dane and tucking the shepherd under his arm and making his way back to shore.
Sgt. Wilson's arrival came none too soon.
According to those who witnessed the rescue described the dogs as being in "serious trouble," and believed that the German shepherd had nearly given up, stating:
"The German shepherd was almost lying its head down on the ice,"
It was just another day on the job for the courageous officer. After the cold water rescue, Sgt. Wilson transported the dogs to a veterinarian, changed into dry clothes and continued on with his work day.
Eventually, an owner claimed both dogs. No word as to why they were running loose, without identification or supervision.
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