Out for a walk this morning, I suddenly changed my route
and headed down to the water's edge. I've been avoiding it for the past few days because it's been so cold and the wind off of Lake Ontario can freeze you to the bone. But today was sunny blue skies and the temperature was crawling upward towards freezing, so I thought I would go and see if the swans had returned.
As I reached the rocky path at the lake's edge I could hear someone calling
"Poppy...come on Poppy...this way",
and I saw a large black dog standing belly-deep in the frigid water on the other-side of the ice-encased
rocks. A rather frantic man was standing as close as he dare to the steep slope and was responsible for the yelling.
He told me Poppy, so excited about his walk had come bounding down the hill and hit the icy rocks sliding right into the lake. There was no safe way to climb down the rocks to reach Poppy, so he was trying to encourage him to hug the icy ledge and wade through the reasonably shallow water to our little beach.
Poppy, however just stood, bleating like a lamb and shivering for all he was worth. I asked if Mr. Owner wanted me to call the fire department, or animal services, but he just shook his head and kept calling. So, wanting to help, but not knowing what else to do, I joined in.
Poppy wasn't budging...so like all good pet-owners, off Mr. Owner dashed down to the beach and into the icy waters. By this time, I had my phone out and 911 dialed, ready to push the send button. Mr. Owner sloshed through the icy water...Poppy wagging his tail with every step his master came closer. Finally, he reached Poppy and picked all 60 lbs of him up, readying himself for the return journey. This one was tricky as having full arms he had nothing to balance himself with on the lichen-covered rocks below. I watched, holding my breath as Owner and Poppy struggled the terrifying 100-metre stretch back to the beach. Once on dry land, we dashed owner and dog back to warm car and old blankets and on their way home.
After they left, I stood staring at the lake and thinking about how horribly bad it could have gone. But then I realized...this is how the world works. We all look out for each other, keep a caring heart and act as each other's guardian angels. It made me realize, though sometimes I forget, there is someone watching out for me too.