SKANDIA - A Skandia man who knows how much pets mean to people didn't think twice about his own safety when he recently rescued a dog trapped under a frozen flowing creek.
James Goriesky, 40, was showing his home for sale to a Marquette couple when they went out the back door and heard their dog bark. It was 8 p.m. at night and dark outside on March 4.
"I could tell it was a muffled bark," said Goriesky, realizing the couple's dog, Miles, had fallen in the Silver Lead Creek behind his house and was likely trapped under the ice.
The homeowner ran down to the creek's edge expecting to be able to kick through the ice but it was too thick. He had grabbed his chainsaw and starting cutting through the ice, near where he could hear the dog barking but being careful not to hurt the trapped animal.
Goriesky would cut a hole through 20 inches of multiple layers of ice and snow, using a pick to get the ice chunks out of the hole, then try to grab the dog. He did this three or four times, getting in and out of the chest-deep freezing current.
"The dog had found a little air pocket and had his head just out of the water," Goriesky noted.
After his wife brought a flashlight, he said it was easier to see the dog's eyes under the ice and he ducked under the water and finally pulled Miles out. He figured the whole ordeal lasted about 20 minutes from the time they heard the dog bark to when the Mastiff-shepherd mix was pulled from the creek.
While the others were tending to the shivering wet dog, Goriesky said he became a little concerned about his own condition. He stripped himself of his freezing clothes, put a blanket around himself, and warmed up by the fireplace.
"The question everyone asks is 'Did we sell our house?' No, we didn't," Goriesky said a week later. But he was still glad he was able to save the couple's dog.
"We have two dogs and cats. I know what having a pet is like and what they mean to people," he said without any regrets.