A Michigan man saved the lives of his mother and his dog after all three fell into an icy pond in their backyard.
Earlier this week, Matt Duckham was outside with his mother, daughter, and dog, Patches, an 8-month old German Shepherd. At one point, Patches took off running toward the small pond in the backyard of their home in Columbia Township, Michigan.
When Duckham went looking for Patches, a passerby told him that the dog had fallen through the ice and into the freezing cold water.
In the winter, most Michigan ponds have a thick layer of ice and snow, making it easy to walk on the surface. But the pond on Duckham’s property has three bubblers that prevent the ice from getting too thick.
Duckham’s mother tried to navigate the ice on top of the pond in order to retrieve the dog, only to fall in herself. In an effort to pull both of them out, Duckham also fell into the freezing cold water.
Despite being over his head in the icy water, the former Marine didn’t panic. He recalled the training he received in the Marines and started slashing at the ice until he found a block that could hold his weight.
“That water was rough, but your will to live overrode everything else,” recalls Duckham. “I was concerned about my mom, my dog, and my kids. I wasn’t worried about the cold.”
After finding a strong block of ice, Duckham managed to get a hold of Patches and pull him out of the water. He then pulled his mother onto the ice, and the three quickly retreated back to the house to get warm.
Local firefighters prepared for an ice rescue eventually arrived on the scene, but only after Duckham made sure all three were safely out of the water. Duckham, his mother, and Patches are all recovering well.