Happy news about animals
A kayak was key to saving a dog’s life for a former Ontario politician’s grandson Sunday night.
Max Laughren, 15, was getting ready to eat dinner at his grandfather Floyd’s when he said his mother came in panicked about a dog stranded out on the lake.
“She was panicked and then ran out again,” Laughren said. “We got down there and all we saw was this dog’s head in the water, like 40 feet out or so.”
Laughren said his instincts kicked in and he ran to his grandfather’s dock with his stepfather, Bob, flipped over one of the aluminum boats lying by the side of the dock and pushed it out on the water.
“Then we hit the ice,” Laughren said.
“We pushed out onto the ice and then we got stuck. That was only about five to seven feet out from the dock and that dog was just out there moaning.”
After his stepfather reminded him of the kayaks in the shed, Laughren said he grabbed the kayak out of the shed and made his way back.
“In the beginning I was like ‘OK, this is easy’ because (the kayak) broke through the ice right down near the shore,” Laughren said.
“Then it started to get harder as the ice started to get thicker … eventually the kayak was just kind of on top of the ice.
“I tried to use my hands, but that didn’t work, so I started to dig the paddle into the ice, you know, hit it so it would go in a bit then push.”
Laughren said that when he got near the dog, there was a circle of ice broken all around him where he had tried to escape.
The dog could hardly keep its head above water. Laughren managed to get closer, grabbed the 90-plus-pound dog by the collar and pulled it into the kayak.
“His head was on one side and his tail on the other in front of me so I could hold him better,” Laughren said. “He was gonna’ fall off because he was limp, almost lifeless. At first I thought he was having a seizure because he was foaming at the mouth and he was shaking violently.”
Having rescued the dog, Laughren said he was now stuck himself and had to wait for his stepfather to come back with another kayak. After a failed attempt to row the kayaks back to shore, Laughren said he pushed the dog onto his stepfather’s kayak and made his way back into the water.
“I could see that the dog, if he stayed out there much longer, he wasn’t gonna’ make it,” he said. “So I jumped out of my kayak and into the water.”
Laughren then grabbed his stepfather’s kayak and attempted to pull him to shore, but after awhile, the task became too strenuous.
“At first, I had a lot of energy because of the adrenaline, but then it started to wear off,” Laughren said.
“My voice was stuttering when I spoke and my mom was on the shore yelling at me and encouraging me, which probably helped a lot.”
Laughren couldn’t get the kayak to shore himself, but his grandfather threw a rope out on the ice and they managed to reel in the kayak.
After the ordeal, which started at 6 p.m. and lasted roughly 45 minutes, Laughren went up to the house, changed into pajamas and waited for his stepfather to bring the dog up to the house, where Laughren stayed with him for the remainder of the night.
The SPCA was able to track down the owner, who is grateful.
“It’s really nice of him,” said Kory Kauppi, the dog’s owner and a resident of Whitefish.
“I have had Huskers (the dog), well he’s about six or seven now … I’m just really grateful because there aren’t many people who would just take a kayak on the lake to save some 100-pound dog.”
As for Laughren, he said he would do it again.
“I know it was worth it,” Laughren said.
“It didn’t really harm me and it made some peoples’ lives a lot better knowing that the dog is still alive. I came to terms with it when I was in the house waiting for the dog to see if it would live or not. I said to myself that even if he died, we tried.
“We did everything we could for this dog and at least he would die in a warm place instead of the cold water.”