Engineering director lassos dog from freezing river

January 10, 2018

Micah Siemers uses extension cords to rescue dog from icy water

City Engineering Director Micah Siemers had no idea that playing around with his young son’s lasso would give him the skills needed to pull a drowning dog from the icy waters of the Caney River on a cold January afternoon, but that’s exactly what happened Monday.

Siemers was taking photos in Johnstone Park for a Community Development Block Grant project when he saw two dogs ambling along the nearby, iced-over river.

“I saw two dogs, which appeared to be a chihuahua-mix and pit bull/boxer-mix, walking on the ice. I thought, ‘That probably isn’t a very good idea,” Siemers said.

After a few minutes of working in the area, Siemers happened to notice that the smaller dog was still walking on the ice, but the larger dog was nowhere to be seen.

“I started looking and then I saw him, flailing around in the water,” Siemers said.

Siemers ran to the water’s edge — calling 911 along the way — while looking for something to use to get the dog out.

“I knew I couldn’t get on the ice, and all I could find was a stick,” he said. “Then I saw the Christmas lights from the Fantasy Land of Lights Festival.”

Siemers said he was attempting to pull some of the lights off the snowflake used in the park during the holiday season festival when he spotted an easier option.

“I saw some extension cords there on the ground, so I tied two of them together to make a lasso,” he said.

Siemers says he attempted to lasso the dog for several minutes.

“I kept missing him,” he said. “He kept going under the water and coming back up. He even went under the ice once, and I thought he was gone then. But he kept coming back up, so I kept trying.”

Siemers said the dog was clearly beginning to tire and was becoming disoriented from the frigid water.

“I didn’t think he would come back up that last time,” Siemers said, “but he did.”

On the last try, Siemers managed to hook the lasso around the dog’s neck and leg.

“Thankfully, someone came up to help and we got the dog out of the water and up on the bank,” Siemers says.

Siemers said the smaller dog took off down the river bank when the lasso tossing began but returned when Animal Control arrived to load the larger dog into the truck.

“He was definitely trying to protect his buddy,” Siemers said.

Both dogs were taken to the Washington County SPCA.

“He does have a microchip, but the owner information is not current,” said SPCA technician Olivia Codding of the larger, rescued dog. “If an owner doesn’t come to claim him, he’ll be available for adoption in four days.”

The smaller dog remained “quite protective” of his larger, older companion, Codding said, until he was claimed by his owner on Tuesday.

To inquire about adoption visit the Washington County SPCA between the hours of 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday or 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Call 918-336-1577 for more information.