On the day after Christmas 2020, local brothers Kory and Kevin Klosterman went down to Grand Lake, Ohio to watch the sunset and take photos. It was cold and the lake was frozen over. There weren’t many people around. That’s when they spotted a dog out on the lake who had fallen through the ice. As the sun went down, Kevin jumped into action and headed out onto the thin ice to try to save the dog. But the story didn’t end there.
Grand Lake Was Frozen Over With A Thin Layer Of Ice
On the day after Christmas, Kory Klosterman and his brother Kevin decided to go down to Grand Lake at sunset to take some photos. Kory brought his canoe with him, in case the ice had melted a bit.
When the brothers got there, they saw the lake was frozen over with a thin layer of ice. Kory left the canoe on the shore and started taking photos. It was a cold but beautiful night.
The Brothers Spotted A Dog On The Lake
While watching the sunset, the Klosterman brothers spotted a dog on the frozen lake. All alone without any owner around, the dog was struggling to walk on the ice. Then, they see him slip and fall into the cold water, barely hanging onto the edge by his front paws.
With no one else around, the brothers knew that they had to act fast in order to save the dog. If he became too cold, he might let go of his grip and fall underwater.
Kevin Knew That He Had To Act Quickly
Having grown up around the lake, the brothers knew how dangerous the ice could be when it was frozen. The thin layer of ice was dangerous to walk on, and with varying levels of thickness, one wrong step could lead to disaster.
Still, the brothers knew they couldn’t leave the helpless dog. While Kevin came up with a plan, Kory called the local fire department for help and started filming the rescue.
He Grabbed The Canoe And A Life Jacket
With no hesitation, Kevin grabbed his brother’s canoe and put on a life jacket. Without question, he was ready and willing to put himself at risk in order to help the dog, who didn’t even belong to him.
Kevin came up with a plan to push the canoe across the ice out to where the dog was stranded, get him inside the canoe, and bring him safely back to the shore. It was risky, but it was the best option.
The Thin Ice Was Dangerous
Walking out onto the thin ice was a huge risk. Kevin could see the varying levels of thickness in the ice– there were plenty of patches that were ready to give way, as the dog had already discovered.
But of course, Kevin and the canoe weighed even more than the dog who had fallen in, making it almost certain that the ice would break at some point while he made his way out there.
The Dog Was All Alone
Finally, Kevin made his way out to the dog who was halfway submerged in the water and losing energy fast. He saw that it was a young golden retriever, and he didn’t see anyone around who the dog could belong to.
Standing on the edge of where the dog fell in was incredibly dangerous. Kevin calmly talked to the dog while he pulled him out of the water, hoping the ice didn’t break from under him.
The Sun Was Going Down
He was able to pull the dog out of the water as the sun was going down. They were losing light quickly and needed to get back to the shore as soon as possible. Although Kory had called the fire department, they hadn’t arrived yet.
Although it only took Kevin a couple of minutes to get out to where the dog was, he didn’t know how long it would take to bring him back.
The Ice Was Slippery, But Could Also Break
The dog was afraid and unsure of Kevin at first. He was also hesitant to get in the canoe. Not wanting to scare the dog any more than he already was, Kevin did his best to calm him down while also getting him in the canoe as quickly as possible.
The ice could give way any minute. At least they would be safer if they were both in the canoe.
Kory Filmed The Entire Thing
Kevin’s brother Kory continued to film the rescue as Kevin got the dog into the canoe. After climbing out of it himself, once again putting himself at risk, Kevin began pulling the canoe back to shore.
Typically, when professionals perform a rescue they’re equipped with gear that allows them to be submerged in frigid water temperatures so they can be protected while also focusing on the rescue mission. Kevin had no professional equipment or clothing to keep him safe, yet he was still willing to put himself at risk for this unknown dog.
The Dog Hops Out
While Kevin was pulling the dog safely to shore, thinking the worst might be over, the dog hopped out of the canoe and tried to run back to shore over the thin ice as he had before. Back to square one.
Again, Kevin had to be careful as he was following the dog straight back to another thin patch of ice, where he could potentially fall in as well. Kory kept filming as Kevin bravely walked the ice alongside the canoe.
The Dog Slips And Falls Back Into The Water
While trying to make it to the shore the dog slipped on the ice and falls into another large hole, into the cold water. Thankfully, the dog was able to pull himself out of the water this time, so Kevin didn’t have to put himself in another dangerous situation right on the very edge of the water.
Even after falling back in the water for a second time, unable to make it back to shore on his own, the dog was skeptical of the canoe. Kevin tried to remain calm to get him back in.
Kevin Grabs Ahold Of His Collar
Knowing that the dog would probably try to hop out of the canoe again, Kevin used one hand to grab ahold of his collar, while holding onto the kayak with the other. There was a high chance that the dog could hop out again and fall back into the water.
Kevin continued to hold onto the dog’s collar while pulling the canoe with the other hand. By now, the sun had dropped. Not only was it colder, but they were losing daylight.
He Tries To Calm Down The Dog
The poor dog was cold and scared but Kevin was doing his best to save him. Although it was much harder to pull the canoe with one hand, Kevin kept a firm grip on the dog’s collar with his right hand while using his other to pull the canoe.
Kory could see his brother struggling to catch his breath and make it back to shore. The fire department still hadn’t arrived yet. It was just them and the dog.
Kevin Was Exhausted
At this point, Kevin had been pulling the canoe across the ice for several minutes in the cold temperature. He had also used his energy to pull the dog out of the water and back into the canoe several times when he had hopped out.
Now he had to pull the canoe with only one arm, to avoid the risk of the dog hopping out again. Could he make it back?
The Dog Hopped Out Again
Once again, the dog hopped out of the canoe. Luckily, Kevin had a hold of his collar. While the dog struggled to get away, likely to fall back into the frigid waters, Kevin managed to pull him back into the kayak, hoping he’d stay put this time.
After pulling the kayak for four minutes straight, Kevin stopped to catch his breath, petting the dog to keep him calm. They were almost safely back to the shore.
He Made It!
After several more steps, the rescue was a success! Kevin proved to be a true local hero, putting his own safety at risk to help someone else’s dog, who turned out to be named Gunner.
Although there was a high risk that it would, thankfully, the ice never broke under Kevin’s feet. Having grown up around Celina, Ohio and Grand Lake, his local knowledge and skill ended up saving a dog’s life.
Kory Shared The Video On Facebook
Kory shared his video of the entire rescue on the Friends of Grand Lake Facebook page. He commented, “Even with the stunning sunset, I hadn’t planned on canoeing or testing the ice tonight, but, combined the two on a Grand Golden Retriever rescue.”
Hundreds of people commended the local brothers on their heroic efforts and Kevin’s selflessness in putting his own life at risk to save the dog. The video would later help them find out who the dog belonged to.
The Fire Department Arrives
Just as Kevin was able to safely get back to shore with the dog, the fire department arrived on the scene. Thankfully, the dog looked like he was okay. The fire department would make sure he checked out alright and help find his owners.
The Klosterman brothers were able to save the dog in under five minutes just before the lake would be dark. On the day after Christmas, they could rest easy knowing they saved a family’s dog.
The Family Was Out Of Town
As it turns out, Gunner the dog’s family was out of town when he made his grand escape and went out on the frozen lake alone. Although the pooch’s curiosity got him into some trouble, the dog was an important part of the Aller family.
Not only is this dog an important member of the Aller family, but Gunner the one-year-old golden retriever is also a therapy dog for the family’s son.
The Family Didn’t Know What Happened Until The Saw The Video
Many residents of Celina, Ohio, follow the Friends of Grand Lake Facebook page, where Kory shared the video of the rescue. It wasn’t until the video garnered hundreds of views and comments that the Aller family realized it was their dog in the video!
Lisa Aller told WDTN, “That’s actually how we found out, is that video being posted on Facebook and we were like, ‘Oh that’s Gunner.'” Seeing her son’s therapy dog slipping on the ice brought her to tears. The family was out of town for the holiday and had a friend watching Gunner until they were back.
Thankful For The Rescue
Lisa Aller recalls that when she saw the video, “I was nervous for the guy too walking on the ice and I just was embarrassed, I was shocked and it was terrible.” Luckily, everything turned out okay, and both Kevin and Gunner the dog made it safely back to shore.
Lisa commented, “We can’t thank you enough. We are out of town right now and just found out! We are sick to our stomachs. This dog is my son’s therapy dog/best friend, you have no idea how much this dog means to my son.” She ended with, “He didn’t just save the dog, he saved my son, too.”