Warm furry hugs and slobbery kisses brightened the faces of the Dickinson Fire Department Wednesday afternoon as Jake the Siberian Husky stopped by to give thanks to the men who saved his life a couple weeks ago during an ice skating gone wrong adventure on Heart River.

Audra Ramirez brought her two Siberian Huskies Jake and Chip for a visit at the City of Dickinson Public Safety Center to show her appreciation for the fire personnel who saved her beloved dog after Jake had fallen through thin ice Nov. 16 on Heart River, and to also give them a giftcard to J D’s BBQ.

On Nov. 16, Ramirez and her dogs were going to enjoy a chipper Monday morning at Jaycees Park but she didn’t realize the gate wasn’t completely shut. With two young active dogs, they know escape when they see it and so, while Ramirez was trying to get their leashes on, Jake and Chip bolted off toward the ballfield.

Panicking that her beloved babies would wander too far off, Ramirez hopped in her car and chased after them, finding Chip safe and sound. However, Jake went around the ballfield, through the woods and vanished in clear daylight. Meanwhile, Ramirez searched everywhere for her dog and alarmed the Dickinson Police Department that her dog had gone missing.

Another citizen, who was walking his dogs and had bumped into Ramirez after Jake had disappeared, began calling out his name. Shortly thereafter, the individual spotted Jake near the Dickinson Waste Water Treatment Plant in the river, struggling to get out of the water and called for help.

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When authorities arrived at the scene, they noticed that the dog had broken through ice approximately 30 feet from shore. Within 10 minutes, fire personnel had the dog secure so he wouldn’t plunge under the water. To finally get the dog onto the ladder without him falling back into the water, it took six Dickinson firefighters along with a couple firefighters from the Dickinson Rural Fire Department an additional 10 to 15 minutes to retrieve the dog.

Lt. Tyler Scott, who was one of the fire personnel that responded to the call, said that this was the second animal rescue on the Heart River. Even though most animal distress calls revolve around cats getting stuck high in the trees, animals falling into the water and not being able to get back to shore seldom occur, Scott said. But even a four-legged animal matters during an emergency call.

“It (feels) good for the guys; it was fun. We’re just glad we got him out and back to the owner. She’s very glad she’s got her dog back,” Scott said.

Following the successful and safe rescue, the Dickinson Fire Department warmed Jake up with a blanket and brought him inside the lobby of the Dickinson Waste Water Treatment Plant and later called Ramirez.

“Once I got there and I found out he was alive and he was wet and cold, I’m not going to lie, my heart sank to my feet. My panic went away and I can’t explain it. I was so excited. I was just so happy to see him,” Ramirez said. “... These are my kids, these are my children. And what these guys did is amazing. A lot of people look at it just, ‘Oh, it’s just a dog.’ It’s not just a dog. These are family members and to think I almost lost one of them, I don’t think I could’ve taken it.”

Now, Ramirez uses harnesses to keep 2-year-old Jake and yearling Chip from venturing off, and is so blessed to have her dogs healthy and well.

“This fire department is wonderful. They are our heroes; they are our heroes and anytime someone sees them or policemen, stop and say thank you for your service,” she added.