Every New Englander’s Worst Fear


Natick, MA – Feb. 25, 2015: With the amount of snow we’ve been receiving in and around the Natick, Framingham, Boston area, many responsible dog owners with fenced-in yards are dealing with the same problem: The snow has piled up so high, that our fences no longer serve as protection for our dogs, or as a barrier from nearby roads, rivers, or other dangers.

Guinness and Bo, a St. Bernard and a Golden Retriever were playing in their yard when a running squirrel lured them over the buried 3-foot fence and down the banks of the nearby Sudbury River. Their owner, was alerted to the fact that something was wrong when she heard Bo sounding the alarm outside.

Guinness and Bo had chased the squirrel onto the not-quite frozen Sudbury River, and while Bo had been able to return to safety, Guinness, fell through the ice. Bo refused to leave his side and began barking in earnest. When (the owner) realized what was happening she immediately called the Framingham fire department.

By the time the fire department was able to rescue Guinness, he had been in the freezing water for 15 to 20 minutes. Enough time for a person to lose consciousness. The fast-acting fire department brought Guinness to IVG MetroWest in Natick, MA for emergency medical attention. When all of his vitals were stable following some supportive care, and treatment for the abrasions on his paws, he was sent home to rest, with recommendations to return for x-rays if his coughing continued or worsened.

“Guinness is a very lucky dog to have had such a quick thinking, loyal friend, a fast acting owner and an outstanding and responsive local fire department. Falling into a frozen river is a terrifying experience, but everyone involved responded quickly and appropriately and the result is that Guinness was saved” said Dr. Suzanne Rovan,  Medical Director at IVG MetroWest, and emergency practitioner who treated him. “Everything could have turned out so much worse than it did, and it bears remembering that our pets rely on us to keep them safe. If your fence is buried, keep a closer eye on your pets than usual if they are outside. Accidents happen, but a quick response can make a real difference to the outcome in emergency medicine.”