PHILLIPS — Emergency responders saved a dog stranded on a chunk of ice Wednesday morning in the Sandy River after a cry for help alerted a neighbor.

Animal Control Officer Josh Bachelder said after he arrived at the river, he decided to tie a rope around himself and wade into the icy water near the bridge on Pleasant Street while firefighters held the rope.

“It was the only thing I knew to do,” he said.

He said he walked about 15 feet into the waist-deep water and used a 5-foot-long catch pole to reach the rest of the way to snare the dog.

Bachelder said the medium-size, mixed-breed, white dog was calm during the rescue, which he thought was a result of being surprised and cold.

Bachelder, who also works for the Phillips Fire Department, originally was called to the scene as a firefighter after a neighbor heard a child calling for help from the river.

While heading to the river, he received a different call saying he was now needed as an animal control officer, not a firefighter, because the child was not trapped and a dog was stranded.

Along with Bachelder, the Phillips Fire Department and two sheriff’s deputies arrived to help.

Deputy Nathan Reid said responders arrived around 10:30 a.m. and took about 15 minutes to rescue the dog.

Reid said they were relieved that the boy did not go into the river after the dog.

It was returned to the boy, who Bachelder thought was about 14 and lived in the area, though he would not name the child.

Reid said officials are not sure why the boy was not in school at the time. According to Maine law, children 17 and under are required to attend school, although a variety of exceptions is allowed.

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252
[email protected]