Eric Braaten is a Private Lands Biologist for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. He has seen all kinds of wildlife miscues driving the highways of North Central Washington. Monday was a little different, however, as he noticed something out on the ice at Banks Lake. . .
“I saw something out on the ice and it didn’t look like a coyote or an eagle. So I pulled over to the side of the road and got my binoculars out. I could see it looked like a dog had fallen through the ice,” Braaten said.
Fellow WDFW employee helped with his boat
Braaten drove the 15-miles back to his home in Electric City and retrieved his hip waders and a shovel. He ran into a fellow employee with the Department of Fish and Wildlife, who grabbed his boat, “just in case.”
Upon returning to the scene, Braaten said the dog was still there, “barking so I knew it was alive.” Braaten said he spoke with others who’d seen the dog on the ice earlier in the day so he figured it had been in the water for about 5-hours. “I got my waders on and my shovel and waded around the edge of the ice where there was open water. I knew it was shallow there and was able to make my way to the dog. The water was about 3 or 4-feet deep there.”
Braaten said the dog was very weak and they were able to load it up on a boat and bring it back to shore. A local firefighters with Coulee City recognized the dog as a local named “Hazel”.
Hazel’s back home safe and sound
We’re happy to report that Hazel is back with her family and is warm and dry, thanks to Eric Braaten. Thanks also to Becky Holder for taking those great photos and sharing them with us.