"Your goal should be out of reach, but not out of sight."
This advice may be wonderful for most enterprises, and certainly for the Olympic rowers urged on by it, but my basic premise has always been, "Don't risk falling into the waters of a partially frozen lake to save a dog. Kenya is younger and more agile, and her body weight of 80 pounds or so is distributed over four legs. She will save herself. You, on the other hand, will drown or die of hypothermia."
Yesterday, the dog I thought was smart enough to recognize the dangers inherent in the shifting cracking ice of Pike Lake decided to investigate to see if she could get closer to all the spring walkers enjoying the sunshine on the other side of the lake, and I broke my own rule.
I headed down to the shoreline with small pieces of cedar planking which I placed on the ice to allow me to get closer to her. I offered a Dentibone, thinking she might just be refusing to come in. She ignored the treat.
I tried going just a step or two closer. The ice began to crack and split apart beneath me. When the ice began to crumble away with every attempt to save myself, I felt the same terror Kenya must be feeling each time she tried to get back onto a solid footing.
Finally I felt solid ice beneath me, and turned back to shore.
When she saw me retreating, Kenya keened, a long drawn out plea for help.
I hurried a little faster.
By the time I returned with two sleds that I thought I would shoot over to her, she was pacing in the freezing slush. Her eyes never left me as I exhorted her to come NOW! FAST! she could do it. But after a few more half hearted attempts to get onto ice that would support her weight, she stayed where she was.
I realized the silliness of my plan at about the same instant she did. She looked over toward the floating dock now mired in ice and snow. And I shouted again, "C'mon, Girl. You can do it!"
She dashed across the moving ice floes to the dock and in a frenzy of relief spun around in circles on it before making the last run to shore to meet me.
We headed up to the warmth of the house where I dried her paws and she settled in before the fire with her dentibone. I lay down beside her, buried my face in her ruff, breathed in fresh air and sunshine, and exhaled relief.