Aurora firefighters rescue golden retriever from frozen pond

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - A dog named 'Houdini' had a close call with death this week after falling into a hole on an ice-covered pond.

On Tuesday night, Aurora firefighters rescued the golden retriever by maneuvering a rescue sled onto the partially frozen pond. The dog had fallen into the icy waters behind its owner's home.

"We saw Houdini, floating, trying to get out on his own, but he couldn't, he couldn't do it," said Captain Ray Garner of the Aurora Fire Department.

Houdini's owner, Andrew Kapur, had gotten home from work and put him on the back porch while he changed clothes. When Kapur came back, in the darkness, he heard the dog splashing and shrieking from the middle of the pond. An aerator there often keeps the pond from freezing over.

Then, for several minutes, there was silence. Kapur was sure his 5-year-old 100-hundred pound retriever was gone. But then, Houdini's head popped up out of the water, just like the escape artist the dog was named after.

"Andrew was thinking for a time, well, should I go out there and try and retrieve him myself? He did the exact thing that he was supposed to do. He called 911," said Lt. Jim Rhodes of AFD.

"One firefighter went into the water, the other grabbed Houdini's front paws, the other firefighter lifted from the rear, and we pulled Houdini out," Garner added.

The dog had been in the water for about 45 minutes. The firefighters wrapped Houdini in a blanket, and his owner kept a close eye on him overnight.

On Thursday, the dog was back to his normal self, mugging for the camera and shaking hands with firefighters who helped rescue him.

"It's unbelievable that the help that was called for made it in the exact right time," said Melanie Kapur, who is Andrew's sister.

Aurora's fire officials say Houdini's escape is a timely reminder that with some warm weather on the way, everybody and their pets should stay off the ice.