Houdini's Great Escape: Aurora firefighters rescue dog from frozen pond

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Aurora firefighters rescued a dog that had fallen into a frozen pond Tuesday night after a 911 call from its frantic owner. (WLS)

A dog and his owner told their story, praising firefighters for rescuing the canine from a pond in west suburban Aurora.

Their routine is the same. Every day around 7 p.m., Houdini waits on his back deck for his owner to take him for a walk. But a couple nights ago when owner Andrew Kapoor was ready to go, Houdini had disappeared.

The 100-pound golden retriever was named Houdini because his owner says the dog has a knack for disappearing and reappearing again. And that is exactly what happened Tuesday night when the 5-year-old pooch disappeared from his back deck in the 100 block of Raven Drive.

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Dog rescued from icy lake

When Kapoor heard splashing and saw paw tracks on the ice, he knew Houdini fell into the pond behind his Aurora home. Kapoor said he believes the dog must have been chasing something, run out onto the partially frozen pond, and fallen into the area open water where the pond's aerator kept it from freezing, according to the fire department. Kapoor thought Houdini was dead, but after a few minutes, the golden retriever reappeared from the water, but couldn't get out. Houdini may have been in the water 30-45 minutes before Kapoor realized he was in trouble. Kapoor called 911.

Kapoor taped the fire department rescue on his cell phone.

"One firefighter went into water, the other grabbed Houdini's front paws, the other firefighter lifted from the rear and pulled Houdini out," said Cpt. Ray Garner-Aurora Fire Dept. "We had him out, wrapped up in a blanket, and had him walking home."

Using an ice rescue sled and cold water immersion suits, Aurora firefighters say their efforts to save Houdini was no different than saving a human.

"We treat every rescue the pretty much the same. Our first priority is life, we have to save life," said Garner.

Escaping a close call, Houdini is 100 percent healthy. The dog's camera-shy owner sent his sister to publicly thank the first responders.

"This dog has been such an angel on earth, we are so blessed and fortunate that he is still with us, thank you to everybody that helped," said Melanie Kapoor.

The fire department says Houdini's owner did exactly what everyone should do in the same situation - call 911. Firefighters say so many times, people try to jump in and perform a rescue themselves. In changing temperatures, the fire department also suggests staying off an ice-covered pond or lake.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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