An 85-pound Argentine Mastiff dog named Max is lucky to be alive after falling into freezing cold Smith Reservoir in Lakewood, Colorado on Tuesday afternoon.
The 3-year-old dog was off-leash "doing his business," according to 9News when he saw a coyote running out of a bush. Max took after after the coyote and both Max and the coyote wound up on the ice of the Smith Reservoir.
Unfortunately for Max the ice didn't hold up and only seconds later both he and the coyote fell into the icy water around 5 p.m. as the sun was beginning to set. Max's owner Michael Robinson told 7News that the coyote went under the icy water and was not spotted again, however Max kept paddling and was able to stay afloat.
Max paddled for about 20 minutes before the West Metro Fire Department came to the rescue. As seen in the video above, firefighter Tyler Sugaski, in a special cold-water rescue suit and tethered by a rope, waded over to the water's edge until he finally broke through the ice and fell into the frigid water himself.
Sugaski, who had trained for this kind of scenario, but had never been faced with performing it in the real world, Fox31 reports, broke through the remainder of the ice with his arms and inched closer and closer to Max who began to paddle towards Sugaski. Sugaski told Fox31:
It was clear Max was slowing down. He knew the minute I got in it was safest to come towards me.
Once Sugaski had a good hold on Max, he and the dog were towed in via the tether line attached to Sugaski. Sugaski helped hoist Max onto more solid icy ground and after a few shakes Max ran toward another firefighter further up from the reservoir ice and simply sat down, taking a much deserved rest.
UPDATE: On a Denver morning news show, during a follow up segment regarding the rescue, the dog bit a news anchor on the face. For more information on that story, click here.
WATCH the dramatic video above.