As fire department and ambulance members render aid, member Stephen Hesler holds and comforts a dog that was rescued by the Sag Harbor Fire Department Dive Team after it had fallen through the ice off of Bayview Court in North Haven on Saturday.
By Michael Heller
Members of the Sag Harbor Fire Department Dive Team braved cold temperatures last weekend to save a two-year-old golden retriever that was struggling in the icy water of Noyac Bay off North Haven.
On Saturday, the dive team was called to Bayview Court after receiving a report that a dog had fallen through the ice. First responders found the retriever with only his head above water roughly 50 yards offshore, barking and crying as he struggled to stay afloat.
A boat was dispatched into the bay with dive team members Alex Smith and Scott Fordham aboard, with dive team member Rich Simmons swimming ahead, breaking the ice by hand so that the boat could proceed.
Mr. Simmons soon reached the canine. After loading him into the boat, the team brought him to shore and into the waiting arms of Sag Harbor Volunteer Ambulance Corps personnel, who warmed the dog before turning him over to the Southampton Town Animal Control office.
The dog was taken to the East End Veterinary Emergency Center In Riverhead for further treatment.
Attending veterinarian Dr. Gal Vatash reported that the dog, Morgan, was close to death after having been in the frigid water for roughly 45 minutes, and was suffering from petechiae—a low blood platelet count—and hypothermia, with a body temperature below 90 degrees.
“He was definitely looking at the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Dr. Vatash.
After an overnight treatment of plasma and warm fluids, however, Morgan was released to his owners the following afternoon, and “…went home wagging his tail.”
Dr. Vatash credited the members of the Sag Harbor Fire Department and Ambulance Corps with saving the dog’s life, as well as simple good luck: He was spotted out on the ice when a family just happened to come down to the shoreline to take some photos and spied the animal in distress. He also credited the use of a microchip embedded in Morgan’s skin for enabling his office to locate and reunite him with his owner.
Dr. Vatash said he would encourage all pet owners to microchip their animals as a protective measure.