On Wednesday 10th March, Diesel, the 5-year-old German Shepherd, and his owner Thomas Walsh, were taking a leisurely stroll at Massachusetts’ Quarter Mile Pond when Diesel spotted a man struggling in the icy water. Diesel’s response to seeing the man was to alert his owner immediately, an action which proved life-saving.
“These actions helped to save a man’s life this afternoon and are nothing short of heroic,” said Chief Grafton, Stoneham Fire Department.
Walsh, who had said he was wearing earphones at the time when Diesel has noticed the man, said that had Diesel not gone out of his way to alert him to the floundering man, he would never have seen or heard him.
“The dog alerted me that there was something going on in that water,” Walsh has told Boston 25 News.
Walsh’s immediate response to noticing the man in the pond was to call 911 and begin attempting to help him out of the pond and to the shore. The young man of 22 was splashing in the water in a panic, trying to keep afloat. Walsh decided the safest way to help him would be to give him clear and concise instructions on how to get out of the pond, rather than climbing into the pond and risking himself as well.
“I told him to try to relax, catch your breath because he was panicking, you know what I mean,” Walsh had said. “My instinct was to go in and help him, I’m a great swimmer, but you can’t do that in the wintertime.”
By remaining on land, Walsh was able to keep his head clear and guide the man to safety; entering the water would be a last resort. The young man had continuously fallen through the ice whilst making his way back to shore, but Walsh’s guidance and support had helped to drive him forward until another passerby was able to join Walsh in his rescue efforts.
“Another fellow was walking through the woods, and I tied the dog to a tree, and I grabbed a big branch from another tree, and we threw it in, and he was kinda too weak to grab onto it and pull it,” Walsh described to Boston 25 News. “So he finally held on with his other hand, and we kinda just dragged him through the water and got him up on shore.”
Soon after Walsh and the other rescuer had pulled the young man to shore first responders arrived on the scene. The first responders rushed the man to the hospital, where he was immediately treated for any injuries, which thankfully are believed to be non-threatening.
Chief Grafton of Stoneham Fire Department has said in a statement .”We are grateful for this outcome and for Diesel alerting his owner that something was wrong. The two men who helped the patient get to shore did the right thing by calling 911 immediately and using a branch to help pull him in rather than trying to get in the water themselves.”
“It was rewarding, it’s just good to know that you can help someone in need.” Walsh has said in a statement, however, he refuses to take the credit for this rescue, and accredits the saving of the 22-year-old man’s life to his dog. “[Diesel’s] the hero today, nobody else,”