Lisa Miller and her German shepherd Dew.
(Bright, Ind.) – When it became apparent that she would have to walk onto thin ice to save a life, Lisa Miller didn’t think twice about it.
The 21-year-old knew that her dog, Dew, wouldn’t last a minute longer in the freezing cold water she had fallen into after wandering onto her neighbor’s iced-over pond Tuesday night.
“I knew what I had to do,” she tells Eagle 99.3.
Miller had just returned to her home on Georgetown Road in Bright from work at the Lawrenceburg Veterinary Clinic a little after 8:00 p.m. Usually when she arrives, Dew greets her in the driveway, but the one-year-old German shepherd was noticeably absent.
After going inside to clean up from work, Miller’s boyfriend arrived, but still no sign of her playful animal friend.
Lisa, her parents, and her boyfriend Cody went out to begin searching for Dew. Walking along her next-door neighbor’s property after dark, she heard an odd noise. It didn’t sound like a dog. She investigated anyways, shining a flashlight towards her neighbor’s large pond.
What first appeared to be a log floating in a break in the ice 20 to 30 feet out then became apparent it was an animal calling for help. Getting closer, Lisa realized it was Dew. She ran for help.
Lisa’s father grabbed a rope and the group returned to the pond where Dew was still pawing at the ice to stay afloat. Cody called 911 on his cell phone, but Lisa knew time was of the essence.
“At first I panicked. Then I realized I had to do something. She couldn’t last that long,” Miller recalled.
Her parents and boyfriend holding the other end, Lisa tied the rope around her waist and began crawling out onto the ice. She was wearing pajama pants, a t-shirt, and shoes.
Within just a few feet of Dew, the ice broke and Lisa fell in. She swam to the pup and grabbed her by the collar. The crew on shore pulled them back out and immediately took the dog to the warmth of the family’s pole barn.
“She was convulsing. She was out of it,” Lisa said, estimating that Dew had been in the water at least half an hour.
EMTs and Bright Fire Chief Kevin Gick arrived on scene. The paramedics gave Dew oxygen. Lisa called her boss, veterinarian Dr. Vince Karstetter, to inform him of the situation.
Lights flashing and siren sounding on his truck, the Gick drove Lisa and Dew to the vet clinic where Karstetter met them to open the door. About three long, uncertain hours later, Dew began returning to normal.
Lisa said her best animal friend remains a little worse for the wear Friday, but should recover. Just sore from the shaking, she added.
“I’m just so thankful. Everyone was awesome,” said Miller. The pup with a new lease on life would probably say the same about her.
“I think she knows,” Lisa said when asked if Dew realizes that she saved her life.