The quick actions of a German shepherd and his owner saved a Massachusetts man from drowning in a nearby frozen pond.
Thomas Walsh was out walking his pet dog, Diesel, near Quarter Mile Pond on the Stoneham and Medford town line when a man called for help after falling through the ice.
Diesel heard the distressed man’s cries and alerted Walsh, according to a statement from the Stoneham Fire Department.
Walsh immediately called 911 and then attempted to calm the man, who was panicking. He was able to instruct the man to crawl on the ice toward shore.
Before long, another man who was walking nearby helped Walsh to pull the freezing man off to the shore using a tree branch.
The Stoneham Fire Department responded at the scene, where they found the 22-year-old Malden man had made it out of the ice with the help of Walsh, Diesel, and the other passerby.
“It was rewarding,” Walsh said in a statement. “It’s just good to know that you can help someone in need.”
Walsh, who had his earbuds in while walking his dog, would not have heard the man crying for help without Diesel, reported Boston25 News.
“He’s the hero today, because without him, seeing or hearing him I would have just kept walking,” Walsh told the outlet. “The dog alerted me that there was something going on in that water.”
Walsh told the outlet that the distressed man had ridden his bike right into the water. He added that he had to fight the urge to plunge into the water to help the biker.
“My instinct was to go in and help him, I’m a great swimmer but you can’t do that in the wintertime,” Walsh said.
The man was taken to a local hospital by Action Ambulance and was treated for injuries that are not believed to be life-threatening, according to the fire department.
The Stoneham Fire Department thanked Walsh and his German shepherd for their quick actions.
“We are grateful for this outcome and for Diesel alerting his owner that something was wrong,” said Chief Matthew Grafton in a statement.
“The two men who helped the patient get to shore did the right thing by calling 911 immediately and using a branch to help pull him in rather than trying to get in the water themselves. These actions helped to save a man’s life this afternoon and are nothing short of heroic,” the chief added.
However, the proud dog owner attributed the credit to Diesel.
“He’s the hero today, nobody else,” Walsh told Boston25.