Just a few weeks before Christmas, one deliveryman for UPS, Ryan Arens, was out delivering packages in Bozeman, Montana.
And during his booked schedule, everything seemed normal — that was, until Arens heard a bizarre sound.
“It was like a kind of cry for help,” Arens shared with The Dodo, “but I couldn’t really see what was going on.”
Arens circled a pond in his truck when he was finally able to get a better view.
He then saw a thin layer of ice on the pond and something dark floating in the very center of it.
“I got out of my truck,” Arens said, “and then I saw a dog in the pond.”
And while it was not the coldest it could have been, Arens, having a dog of his own, knew something was wrong as there was no way a dog should be out swimming in the current weather (which was in the 30s.)
“Then I saw she was clinging to the ice,” Arens said.
It was the dog screaming for help.
Arens ran over immediately.
“My heart was thumping,” he said. “I got a little scared and nervous knowing that I was probably going to do something stupid.”
A small crowd had gathered – including one older man on a small paddle who attempted to slide closer to the dog.
“I stripped down to my boxer briefs, took off my uniform and my hat and everything, and left my socks on knowing how sharp ice can be,” Arens said.
Arens then got into the boat and attempted to make his way closer to the dog.
“I could see through the ice now because it was really thin,” he said, “and I could see three-quarters of the dog’s body was underwater — just her head was up and barely out of the water.”
Arens then got out of the boat — holding onto it with one hand and attempting to reach the dog with the other — while balancing on thin ice.
“My biggest fear was falling through the ice and not being able to get out,” he said.
And his worst fear came true as the ice did break.
“I went down, and at that point, I just swam out to the dog and grabbed her collar — thank God she had a collar on — and swam back to the ice,” Arens said.
Arens then put the dog in the boat and slid it back to shore where neighbors gathered around.
“A lady who was there handed me a blanket and I just wrapped it around the dog,” Arens said.
The dog was in so much shock that she could not stand up on her legs as they were so numb. A group of folks took her back to a neighbors’ house where the dog was covered in warm water.
That particular neighbor was a retired veterinarian who knew what to do, checking the dog’s body temperature and realizing that if Arens had not done what he did — the dog would have had a heart attack just a short, few moments later.
In the meantime, the dog’s owner was looking everywhere for her.
It was later discovered that the owner lived just a few blocks away and the dog, Sadie, had been playing with a neighbor’s dog when she ran off.
“There were duck decoys floating in the pond and I’m guessing she was curious about them and that’s how she got into the situation,” Arens said.
After Sadie’s person found out a dog was in the house, he arrived in a frenzy and was so happy to be reunited with his best friend.
In the commotion of it all, Arens was still in his boxer briefs — and went to go change into an extra set of clothes he kept in his truck, then carried on with his day.
“My legs were all scraped up from the ice and my feet were all cut up even through my socks, but I put my uniform on and went along my route,” he said. “I had about 20 more stops.”
The very next day, Arens was out making his deliveries when he walked up to a house by where he rescued Sadie.
It was there he noticed a man making his way to the truck in the driveway — and he saw Sadie in the car.
“She was in his vehicle and she saw me coming down the driveway and she just went crazy,” Arens laughed. “The man said, ‘Thank you so much, I never really got a chance to thank you.’ And then he said, ‘Would you like to meet Sadie?’ And I said, ‘I would love to meet Sadie.'”
And Arens was able to snag a photo with Sadie so he could remember the day he saved her.
Arens has been a UPS driver for over ten years and believes each of the dogs he meets along his route are one of the best parts of his job.
And though he met Sadie under dramatic circumstances — he has no regrets.
“I would do it again in a heartbeat,” he said. “I love animals.”
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