Woman rescued from frozen pond after trying to save family dog

By Ben Hooper  |  Dec. 13, 2016 at 3:03 PM
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AURORA, Ill., Dec. 13 (UPI) -- An Illinois 8-year-old is being praised by his family after calling 911 when his mother's attempt to rescue their dog from a freezing pond landed her in the water.

Cathy Medernach said she acted quickly and without much thought Sunday when her family dog, Bailey, chased some ducks out onto the frozen retention pond behind their Aurora home and fell through the thin ice.

"I didn't think at all. I should have thought because my husband is a fireman. He tells me stories all the time. I know, I didn't think," Medernach told WLS-TV.

"Looking back, I do have regrets," she told the Aurora Beacon-News. "I really wanted to save my dog. There was nothing else that I was thinking of."

Medernach said she hopped into the family's canoe and grabbed a broom because she couldn't find the oar.

"I thought that I could push the boat along, but that didn't work for me," she said. "When I took the first paddle, the boat flipped and I fell into the water. I thought that I would be able to get myself back into the canoe, but I didn't have the strength. I tried using the ice as leverage, but that didn't work. I have bruises on my legs to show for it."

Medernach shouted for her son, Kayden, 8, to run inside and call for help.

Kayden's first call was to his father.

"He told me the dog was in the pond and couldn't get out," dad Eric Medernach said. "He started crying and said Mom was in the pond with the dog, and neither one of them could get out. At that time, my heart dropped."

Eric Medernach told the boy to hang up and call 911, which the boy did.

Police were the first to arrive on the scene and were able to use a rope bag to pull Cathy Medernach to shore, Aurora Battalion Fire Chief Ed Oros said.

Firefighters soon arrived on the scene and divers went out onto the ice to reach Bailey in the middle of the pond.

"The dog was in the water for about 30 minutes," Oros said. "She is a tough dog."

The parents praised Kayden for staying calm and calling for help.

"I am proud of my son for having stayed calm and making the call for help," Eric Medernach said. "We are thankful to Aurora police and Aurora Fire Department Rescue."

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