There were frantic moments for the owners of a Great Dane after it fell into the Willimantic River on Friday.
Police said firefighters had to suit up in cold weather gear to rescue the dog from the frigid water around 9:30 a.m.
They said it happened when the dog, named "Mike," was out on a walk with his owners. The dog peered over the edge of a snow-covered embankment and slid 16 feet down it into the water.
"This is my 21st year here and I've never witnessed anything quite like this," Willimantic Police Lt. Stan Parizo said.
Police reported that it was a struggle. Mike weighs about 140 pounds and is 11 years old.
"The dog was struggling, and obviously the dog was tired," Parizo said. "And we needed to get in there and get this dog out of the river."
Crews were finally able to rescue Mike.
"The dog was not coming out from the owner's command," Willimantic Fire Department Capt. Ron Palmer said. "We had two firefighters, don cold waters suits. They had ropes on them. They traversed down the embankment, were able to locate the dog and the dog was really happy to see them. They were able to grab onto the dog, pull the dog out."
It took about five minutes to get Mike out of the water.
"The owner was extremely happy," Palmer said. "I'm sure the dog is going to be fine."
Rescuers brought him to the North Windham Animal Shelter in one of their cruisers. Police said the dog was treated for hypothermia and released later to his home.
“I give all the credit to Captain Palmer and to city fire this morning, they saved that dog's life, so it was a great effort," Parizo said.
To see pictures of Mike on your mobile device, click here.
Copyright 2017 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.