BOZEMAN, Mont. – A UPS driver is being praised for braving an icy pond to rescue a young dog trapped in the ice.
Ryan Arens was on his route shortly before Christmas when he rolled up to a house in Bozeman, Montana, and heard a dog in distress.
"This dog was screaming and crying and going crazy," he said.
The sun was nearly gone, and he didn't see anything. He delivered a package and then drove to the other side of the pond.
"I could see the dog trapped about 10-15 feet off of shore, with ice all around it," he said.
An older man was in a rowboat on the pond, trying with little success to chip away the ice to reach the dog.
"I stripped to my boxers and got the guy out of the boat. Then, I slid the boat out onto the ice, using it to distribute my weight," Arens said. "I shimmed out to where the ice was thin."
Then he crashed through the ice, falling from the boat and into the 16-feet-deep water.
Since he was already wet, Arens said he swam for the dog.
"She was starting to go under," he said.
He grabbed her collar and swam for the ice, sliding the dog across the ice to shore. He pulled himself out of the water and a bystander handed him a blanket.
"We took the dog inside the older guy's house and got in the shower together to warm up," he said.
About then, the sheriff's department and animal control arrived. Help was on the way, but "I knew someone had to get to her. She wasn't going to make it."
Despite his adventure and cuts on his leg, Arens finished his route, delivering 20 more packages.
"Animals are my weakness," he said. "It was the highlight of my 14-year UPS career."
He has a 14.5-year-old Malamute/shepherd who is "still loving life."
Arens found out where the dog's owner lived and happened to have a package to deliver to him. As he walked up, he saw the dog, whose name he learned is Sadie, in the guy's pickup.
"She was freaking out, and when he let her out she ran to me," he said. "She must have remembered me. It sure made me feel good."
They recently reunited for a photo. Sadie is a 2.5-years-old wirehaired pointing griffon.
"This dog had a whole lot of life left in her, and I'm really glad I was able to act when I did. She's a sweetheart."
This article originally appeared on Great Falls Tribune: UPS driver saves dog from drowning in icy pond: 'She wasn't going to make it'