For four days and three nights this past February, a dog stranded on an ice floe in the frigid waters of the Detroit River between the U.S. and Canada struggled to stay alive. Even though the situation was desperate, the dog held out for a miracle—and finally got one.
First spotted by a wildlife photographer shooting images on the Michigan bank of the river, soon enough, concerned parties on both sides of the border were struggling to find a way to save the imperiled pup, but the extreme elements were against them.
After tapping numerous resources, it seemed no one could help, but determined rescuers refused to give up. “We had to fight for him,” Patricia Trevino of the River Rouge Animal Shelter (RRAS) told WXYZ-Detroit. “It was a level of frustration I’d never felt because this was a life; it was out there in front of us. We could all see it.”
That’s when Jude Mead and his son, who own a marine construction company in Windsor, Ontario, took the helm of the lifesaving operation—literally.
Setting off in an airboat loaned to them by the BASF Corporation, the pair were able to pilot their way across the ice, finding and securing the dog with relative ease.
After having spent such a prolonged period in sub-zero temperatures—much of the time under the stressful threat of prowling coyotes—the poor pooch was in pretty rough shape.
Once ashore, he was immediately taken to Woodhaven Animal Hospital for evaluation. The diagnosis confirmed the young dog suffered frostbite, dehydration, and pancreatitis as a result of his ordeal, however, the veterinarians speculated that the dog’s badly matted fur was likely a blessing in disguise, keeping him from further harm.
“I feel like what saved him out there is the fact that he wasn’t groomed and his coat was pelted,” Woodhaven vet Dr. Lucretia Greear told The Detroit Free Press. “He had literally like a layer of insulation that protected him from the water and the ice and it protected him from freezing to death—but he’s a miracle.”
After successful treatment and recovery, the lucky pup, who’d been going by the name Alonso, was aptly renamed ‘Miracle’ and put up for adoption.
While there were many contenders for the role of new pet parent, when the man who’d plucked him from the ice stepped forward to lay his claim, the shelter staff agreed that nothing could feel more right than reuniting them.
“Today the story came full circle. Today the little Miracle dog was placed into the hands of the hero who saved his life. That’s right—this dog who defied ALL THE ODDS will now live happily ever after with the man who saved his life,” Friends of the RRAS announced.
“Miracle could not ASK for a better or more ideal family to love him! We are all so grateful for this happily ever after ending to this AMAZING story… Congrats Jude and family on the addition to your family! Happy life, Miracle!”