by Pilar Pedraza
KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
6:51 PM CST, December 26, 2012
A Goddard family is warning Kansans to beware of ice. Their dog, Bear, almost died of hypothermia after falling into their wastewater lagoon Wednesday.
The rescue started when only two dogs showed up for a meal. A quick search found the 7-year-old Beagle already struggling for his life in the middle of the lagoon.
"Oh, I panicked! I didn't know... I panicked," said Patricia Wilson, Bear's owner.
She called for help, then tried to rescue her pet Beagle on her own only to fall into the frigid water too. It eventually took the help of two Sedgwick County Fire crews, one with special cold weather wet suits, to pull Bear to safety. He'd spent nearly an hour in the icy wastewater lagoon.
"I don't know how he managed to hang on as long as he did, because once I hit the water I was completely paralyzed," said Wilson.
While Bear's core body temperature was down to just 83 degrees when he got to the veterinarian, he's doing better now. They'll run tests to make sure the hypothermia didn't cause any permanent brain or organ damage.
Meanwhile, Wilson has confined all her dogs to the house and hopes other pet owners and parents will be extra careful to protect their loved ones from the ice.
There are several holes in the fence around the lagoon that the Wilsons have been trying to fix and they think that's how Bear got through. Now there's a new hole, marked by a yellow rope, that represents Bear's rescue.
The ice Bear fell through was two to three inches thick according to the fire crews that rescued him. Four inches of fresh ice should be enough to hold an adult human, according to the Department of Natural Resources, but ice freezes irregularly and officials say it's never 100% safe.
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