Here's what to do if your pet falls into icy water

Toronto emergency officials say they respond to people in distress on or near ice at least once a week this time of year. Their advice is to stay off the ice, even if your pet falls through and into icy waters.

Katrina Herrndorf always walks her dog Jack through Toronto's High Park.

On Tuesday (Jan. 26) morning, she watched as two dogs ran onto the fragile ice of Howard Pond at the park's northeast end.

“I was very concerned as I could see the pond was not all frozen, and the ice was very thin," she recalls.

"The owners were calling the dogs, and one of the dogs managed to run back off the ice to safety, but Coco fell through the ice. I was horrified."

A bystander called 911, and a crowd quickly gathered.

“A few people tried throwing the life ring attached to a rope as well as a branch attached to a rope, but they didn’t quite get close enough. It appeared Coco was floating on a piece of ice and could not get off it. Then someone had the bright idea to take a huge tree log and smash the ice. A bunch of us lifted it and threw it on the ice. It worked perfectly to carve a path to Coco,” Herrndorf recalled.

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Dog rescue - submitted photo

Courtesy: Katrina Herrndorf/Submitted

What happened next is a textbook example of what emergency personnel say you should never do: two people jumped in the icy water to try and save the dog.

Thankfully this story had a happy ending. Everyone - including Coco - got out safely.

So what should you do if you find yourself in a similar situation? Watch the video above to find out.