12 Incredible Snow Rescues That Couldn’t Have Happened Without Dogs

Written by: Christen Groves

January 19, 2016

Every now and again a dog comes along and performs some Lassie-level act of heroism. Ok, so it actually happens ALL THE TIME. But these pups rank as particularly bold in our book, since these loyal dogs didn’t let snow, frigid waters, or cold temperatures come between them and their hoomans.

High-paws to man’s best friend and each of these heroic winter pups!

1. Barry the St. Bernard


Barry, an early version of the St. Bernard and an avalanche dog from the 1800’s, was credited with saving more than 40 lives during his career, the most memorable being the rescue of a young boy Barry discovered asleep in a cavern of ice. Barry carried the child through the snow, on his back, to the Hospice in which Barry lived. The boy survived and was later reunited with his parents. Barry’s preserved body is currently on display at the Natural History Museum in Bern.

2. Keno the Labrador/Border Collie


The first live recovery in Canadian history happened on December 19th , 2000 at Fernie Ski Resort when Keno, a Labrador/Border Collie mix, and his handler Robin Siggers, rescued a lift operator from an avalanche. The lift operator had been buried beneath the snow for twenty minutes before Keno found him. Keno was awarded for his heroism and bravery, and a memorial to him still stands at the Fernie Ski Resort in British Columbia, Canada.

3. Shana the Wolf Dog


Eve and Norman Fertig were taking care of animals at their forest sanctuary, “Encanted Forest Wildlife Sanctuary,” when a sudden snow storm trapped them 200 ft from their home in freezing temperatures. Their 160 lb Wolf/Dog hybrid, Shana, who the couple had rescued 7 years earlier, was with them when the couple became trapped. Determined to get the 81 year old couple back to warmth and safety, Shana tunneled her way through 200 ft of snow, and dragged the couple behind her. Shana managed to get the couple home, and kept them warm by laying across their bodies until the fire department arrived. For her heroic efforts and bravery, Shana received the Citizens for Humane Animal Treatment’s Hero’s Award — an award that had previously only been given to humans.

4. Bella the Lab Mix and Baxter the Boxer


While playing outside, six year-old Ryle Smith was lost in the woods near Seneca, Missouri, on an evening with freezing temperatures. After a five hour search rescuers not only found Ryle, but also the little boy’s dogs, Bella and Baxter. Bella and Baxter had huddled atop Ryle and shielded him from the cold. Without Baxter and Bella, Rylee might have suffered from frostbite, or even lost his life.

5. Amber the Golden Retriever


When 52 year old Otis Orth became immobilized after crashing his snow mobile in the Alaskan woods, it was his two year old Golden Retriever, Amber, who first came to his rescue. Amber kept Lucas warm during the night, and even chased off a raven that had begun to examine Orth’s eyes. 24 hours after the crash the sound of snow-mobilers could be heard close by. Amber brought the snow-mobilers to the location of Orth, and remained by his side until he was airlifted from the scene.

6. Juneau the Siberian Husky


Leonard Somers was cross country skiing when a rock jutting out of the snow sent him flying into a near by tree. Covered in snow, and paralyzed from the waist down, Somers’ Siberian Huskey Juneau began to dig him out of the snow. About an hour later, Somers heard other cross country skiers in the distance and begged Juneau to get help. Amazingly, she did. Juneau left him and returned with the cross country skiers and their dog. Juneau saved Somers life, and was given PETA’s Heroic Dog Award for her loyalty and heroism.

You can donate to help cover the cost of Mr. Somers’s medical expenses here.

7. Reilly the Golden Retriever


It was 4 am when Nancy Sheerin’s carbon monoxide detector went off. A large build up of snow had blocked a furnace in the house and caused it to malfunction and leak. Carbon monoxide levels began to climb, and Nancy, who is hard of hearing, continued to sleep. Luckily, Nancy’s three year old Golden Retreiver, Reilly was in the house and detected something was wrong. With several licks to the face, Reilly managed to wake Nancy up. Once awake, Nancy heard the alarm and was able to get Reilly and herself to safety.

8. Rocky the Labrador/Husky

An Edmonton man and his dog are being hailed as heroes after they rescued two young girls who fell through ice on the North Saskatchewan River Sunday afternoon.  Local fire officials said the two girls, ages six and nine, were playing on the ice near the Rundle Park footbridge around 4:30 p.m. when they fell into the water.  Adam Shaw, 27, had been out on a stroll with his wife Kelsey, two young children and the family dog when they heard the girls' screams.   Shaw spotted one girl floating in the river and her sister trying to pull her out.  "I yelled to them to try and get their attention, trying to tell them to hang onto the ice and I was going to come down and get them," he told CTV Edmonton.  By the time Shaw and his dog, an eight-year-old lab-husky named Rocky, had scrambled down a steep bank and onto the river ice, the second girl had fallen in.  While Shaw managed to pull one girl to safety, the second girl began to drift down the river.  Shaw yelled out to her, asking her if she could swim toward the ice. She responded that the frigid temperatures had sapped the strength from her arms and legs, Shaw recalled in a news conference Sunday.  The situation got even worse when Shaw and Rocky fell into the freezing water.  "It was breathtaking," he recalled. "It was very cold."  After several failed attempts to get back to shore, the pair managed to get back onto the ice, and again tried to get near the girl.  "I started to look around and I couldn't see her. She had gone underneath the water and I thought she was gone. She popped up ... down the river and she was still screaming and I started to run after her again," Shaw said.

Nine year-old Samara and 10 year old Krymzen were playing on the ice of a frozen river when they fell into the water. At the same time, Adam Shaw had been out for a walk with his eight-year-old Labrador/Husky mix Rocky, when he heard the girls screams. After several failed attempts to get both girls out of the water (one attempt in which Rocky and Shaw fell into the frigid water themselves), Shaw managed to get a hold of Krymzen, but still hadn’t reached Samara. Shaw attached a leash to Rocky and encouraged him back into the water. Rocky swam out to Samara and pulled her back to safety with his leash.

9. Ace the Rescue Dog


Donna Molnar had been missing for three days before Ray Lau and his search and rescue dog Ace, found her. Amazingly, Donna was found lucid and alive, despite having been trapped in three feet of snow, with temperatures around 30 degrees Celsius, for almost three days. Searchers had been looking for Donna since she had gone missing, but without Ace, they hadn’t been able to find her.

10. Rising Star Brittany the German Shepherd


Khabarovsk region police were called to the scene when seven year old Liza Grabovskaya didn’t return home from school. While tracing the steps of the the young girls route home, the police team’s German Shepard, Rising Star Brittany, began to circle round and round a spot in the snow. Upon closer inspection the team saw an almost 2 meter deep hole in the ground, with the little girl trapped inside. Thanks to Rising Star Brittany, Liza was returned to her parents and made a full recovery.

11. Creature the Pit Bull


Cara Jones was on an evening walk with her two year old Pit Bull “Creature” when the dog began to pull Cara through the brush. It was after Creature also began to bark, that she noticed a figure laying face-down in the snow. The figure turned out to be 89-year old Carmen Mitchell, an Alzheimer’s patient who had wandered away from her caretaker several hours earlier. Later, in an interview, Cara said “Pit Bulls never get any recognition for doing something good. Here’s a chance to say something good about a Pit Bull.

12. Andy the Golden Retriever


Andy the Golden Retriever was out for a potty break, just as an elderly neighbor next door slipped and fell into a bank of snow. Andy jumped the fence, ran to the woman who had fallen in the snow, and began to bark. Andy’s human Vicki came outside at the sound of her dogs bark, and was able to rescue her neighbor from the snow. Without Andy’s watchful eyes, Vicki’s neighbor might have fallen and never been found.

Featured image via CARDA

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Written by: Christen Groves

January 19, 2016

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