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Heart-warming rescue of dog suffering from aquaphobia

By The Siberian Times reporter
17 November 2016

Residents of a Urals town noticed the dog standing completely still on a frozen pond for 36 hours.

The dog 'looked at the people, his eyes wide with horror'. Picture: Andrey Velizhanin

He was there in the evening of 11 November, and in the same place - immobile and trance-like - in the morning despite temperatures of minus 11C during the night. He was in the same pose: he hadn't moved a during the cold night.  

Residents of Sysert in Sverdlovsk region called to the dog, willing him to walk over the ice to the shore. But he didn't budge, and appeared to be in shock.

Andrey Velizhanin, from animal rescue service ZooSpas, said: 'They shouted, whistled, threw sticks. They even brought some sausages, and threw them very close to the dog, but he did not move. So they called us. 

'I have been rescuing the animals for many years, but this is the first time I've seen such a strange picture.'

Map


Dog at the pond

Residents of Sysert in Sverdlovsk region called to the dog, willing him to walk over the ice to the shore. But he didn't budge, and appeared to be in shock. Pictures: The Siberian Times, Andrey Velizhanin

The rescuers tried to walk on the ice to reach the stranded animal, but 15 metres from the shore  the surfacebegan to crack. Instead, they laid a ladder on the frozen surface, reducing the pressure, and rescuers crawled towards the dog. 

They got a rope around the neck of the animal which still refused to moved. The dog 'looked at the people, his eyes wide with horror'. But still he did not move voluntarily.

The rescuers had to pull him off the ice, using a fishing rod with a hook to pull the dog's collar. 

Another volunteer Evgeny Zenkov said: 'We were very surprised with calm and almost indifferent attitude of the dog to everything that was going on.' 

Back on shore, the dog was loaded into a warm car and gradually 'came to his senses'. Vets inspected the animal and did not find any frostbite, or even the common cold. 

Saving the dog


Saving the dog


The dog

'We were very surprised with calm and almost indifferent attitude of the dog to everything that was going on.' Pictures: Andrey Velizhanin

Initally, the rescuers wondered if the dog had been drugged. 'One version was that the owner poisoned it with some psychotropic substance,' said Andrey Velizhanin. Locals say that they saw some guy with the dog near the pond.'

But no evidence was found that the animal was drugged. The dog was calm, well trained, groomed, and healthy - despite being on the ice for 36 hours.

'I believe that the dog simply has acquaphobia,' he said. 'He  came to the pond and that day water appeared on the ice because of the bright sun. So the dog saw the water and fell into a stupor.' 

Now the rescuers are seeking to track the owner.

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