MADISON, Ala. – An Alabama woman was unable to save the life of her beloved beagle after it fell through thin ice into a pond, but she says her dog's last actions may have saved her own life after she too tumbled into the frigid water while trying to rescue the pup.
Madison Fire and Rescue rescued Sarah Bailey from icy water at an apartment complex on Continental Drive Wednesday night. She said the entire experience was traumatizing. "I was for sure thinking that I was going to die."
"My dog needed to go out. I didn't have my coat or anything on yet, so I opened the door. He usually just lingers on the porch until I get my stuff on," Bailey said.
Bailey said when she came out Olly was gone. "I realized he had walked across the ice on the pond and fallen in. He was desperately trying to get out. The whole fight or flight kicked in," she explained.
That's why she decided to go after him. "I was leaning down to get his leash and I fell through," Bailey said it felt like an eternity inside the frozen pond at her apartment complex.
Things got even worse when her 10-year-old daughter tried to help. "She thought I was screaming for her to come help me." Instead, Bailey said she was telling her daughter to "Go get help." "So she starts coming out and starts to go through the ice as well. She was able to hoist herself back onto the ice," Bailey said.
Eventually, neighbors came to her aid and Madison Fire and Rescue showed up and they were able to get both her and the dog out of the water.
She learned afterward Olly helped save her life. "He put himself under the ice that was breaking underneath me and it kept it floating," Bailey said.
But it came at a great price – Olly was under the water for too long and died while doing so, Bailey said.
She knows people may judge her for going in after him, but she said Olly was a special dog and she couldn't sit back and just watch him die.
"When I rescued him, he needed a lot of training to just be able to be around other people," Bailey said. "I was the only person he truly trusted because of the way he was abused and I feel like he was just saying 'Thank you.'"