The dog, a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retreiver, got stuck on ice floes and fell into Lake Michigan on Chicago's North Side.
Emergency crews were called out to help, and the dog could be seen hopping from one piece of ice to another for nearly an hour.
Dave Kehnast, an avid kayaker, spotted the dog from his Rogers Park apartment, and decided to help it to shore.
"I saw him way out there and so I grabbed the kayak over here, and I know that the lake is only a couple of feet deep all the way out to where the ice shelf ends. So I knew I'd be fine," Kehnast said.
The scared dog tried to bite Kehnast as he lifted it onto the ice, and it managed to slip past rescuers on land and continued to run through the neighborhood after it was safe.
"I don't know if he realized what kind of danger he was actually in," Kehnast said. "I just kept encouraging him. Here boy, here boy. And I got really close to him," said Kehnast.
A police helicopter and a fire department boat prodded the toller closer to shore, and at one point Kehnast jumped out of his kayak to encourage the dog along.
The dog made it on to dry land after being helped by Kehnast-- and took off.
Animal control eventually caught up with animal, who was wearing a collar.
Friday evening, the dog's owner said he was grateful for Kehnast and the emergency crews.
"My dog disappeared on February 13th, he's been missing for nine days," said Nerijus Stepenovicius.
Although officials wouldn't let him bring the dog home Friday night, Stepenovicius has a message for Kehnast.
"Just to thank him, I know it's just words but I have to say them and to know him would be better," he said.
The dog and Stepenovicius are expected to be reunited on Saturday.