Thanks to a middle school teacher’s quick-thinking, a puppy named Dory was saved from drowning in a frozen lake in Illinois.
According to the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette, Bryant Fritz was about to go fishing at a lake in Champaign, Illinois, when he spotted a black and white puppy trapped inside a crate.
“It was about 3 p.m. when I saw the dog in the lake,” Bryant told the newspaper. “Part of the crate was sticking out of the water. The puppy’s head was still above water, but the rest of her body was submerged.”
The middle school teacher, who teaches science at Next Generation School, said he was alone when he saw the trapped puppy. Initially, he thought about calling someone but realized that the situation was urgent – the pup looked like she didn’t have an extra five or ten minutes to spare. So, he decided to jump in to rescue her himself.
“It was a cool and wintry day,” he recalled of the moment. “I took off a couple of layers of sweaters and immediately waded into the water to reach the crate.”
He waded approximately 15 to 20 yards into waist-high freezing water before he reached the crate. When he saw Dory, it became clear to him that the dog had been stuck in the cold water for several hours.
Once Dory was out of the water, Bryant saw that she had other medical problems that need to be treated as soon as possible. The dog had bloody wounds. She was missing a bunch of fur on her backside and the bottom of her paws appeared to be missing skin.
“She probably weighed 15 to 20 pounds; she was definitely a puppy. She was shaking so bad. Her eyes were shut. She was so miserable. I took her to my truck and turned up the heat as high as I could,” Bryant said.
Bryant, the middle school teacher, thought of making a quick stop at his home to wrap her in a warm blanket before driving her to the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital. There, she was treated for hypothermia and other injuries that “do not appear to be related to being in the lake.” After two to three hours, the pup’s temperature levels finally went back to normal.
On Monday, the hospital shared the good news of Dory’s recovery. She was released to Champaign County Animal Control and will stay there while authorities investigate who left her to drown in the lake.
“She’s excited, she’s happy, she’s eating, she wags her tail, licks faces, takes treats,” Dr. Meghan Fick told the News-Gazette. “Puppies are so resilient that she doesn’t know that people did this to her, and she just wants to be around people. She wants to sit on your lap, lick your hands and take treats. She’s ready to move on and doesn’t harbor any bad feelings.”
Bryant had recently lost his own dog – a pit bull mix – and says that he would like to adopt Dory.
“As I filled out the paperwork when I brought her to the hospital, I realized I wanted this dog to be a part of my life,” he said.
After he saved Dory’s life, we believe that Bryant deserves to be the person to care for the pup and give her a loving home!