Let me preface this story by saying that yes, there is no question in my mind, nor should there be in yours, that I am a complete schmuck.
I am OK. Otis is OK. But we never should have gone for a walk this afternoon along an icy creek, especially given how cold it was, that I am in the middle of chemo, and that Otis, despite his Border Collie and German Shepherd smarts is still a dog and if given the chance will run out onto the ice on an icy creek.
And it had been a really nice walk. Despite the cold, it felt great to be outside on a quiet trail in Fairmount Park with Otis who loves the cold and loves this particular trail that winds along the now frozen creek. We were maybe a quarter mile from the car when Otis bolted ahead. I heard him running through the woods, down towards the river, then a second or two of silence (as he slid across the ice), than crack and splash. I could see him in the distance holding on to the thin ice. It was a horrible sight. He was terrified. I was terrified. After yelling at him for a minute to come, which he didn’t–he was stuck–I started looking for long branches, downed trees, anything that I could use to get him out of the icy water. When that failed I called 911. They were useless, and besides, had I waited for them Otis would have drowned. A good Samaritan with her dog tried calling Otis to the other side of the river where the ice looked thicker. That didn’t work. There was only one thing to do and it was going to be a cold, but quick run back to the car after I got wet. There was no way in hell my dog was dying today in front me. There was no way I was going to home to Jacqui (who was aware of the situation via cell phone) without Otis.
I knew that at most the water was no more than 4 feet deep, enough to freeze my butt off, but not deep enough to kill me. Plus, the water had to be warmer than the 20 degree air. I slid myself across the ice. It cracked about a foot from Otis. And lo and behold, it was no more than 2 feet deep. I stood up and laughed and grabbed Otis by the collar, walked myself through the ice until it was too thick, picked him out of the water (he took off running, a good sign) and pulled myself out.
We ran together to the car, which thankfully contained the suitcase full of clothes and a towel and a blanket that I was supposed to use in the hospital this week. I got Otis in the car, stripped off my frozen clothes, dried myself off and warmed up. Otis and I made a quick stop at the doggie emergency room where they put him under a drier to warm him for a few minutes. Neither of us are worse for the wear, but the lesson is learned for me: while in chemo MORON don’t put oneself in a potentially hazardous situation.
Please don’t call and yell at me for being such an ass. I feel guilty enough for putting us both at risk.
We are all resting comfortably at home tonight. Happy to all be OK and to be together.