Foster dog Lena went missing on Christmas Day and was rescued 16 hours later.
Lena went missing on Christmas Day in the late afternoon. When a RAGOM dog goes missing, a volunteer team springs into action to coordinate search efforts that include creating and placing signs, alerting authorities, and building awareness of a lost dog that starts with Facebook.
Some searches last a few hours, while others stretch on for days, sometimes weeks. Lena was missing for 16 hours when she was sighted, and no one could have imagined the peril this sweet girl was in.
On December 26 around 8:00 am, Dave Frisch, a Worthington resident familiar with Lena’s story because of the Facebook post about her, was driving on Lake Avenue near Vogt Park and quickly scanned the mostly frozen lake.
Much to his surprise and horror, he saw Lena bobbing up and down in a small patch of open water. He quickly notified the Worthington Police, who notified RAGOM volunteer Kelly Burns.
Officer Tyler Olson and Mike Burns, Kelly’s brother, were first to the scene and bravely ventured onto thin lake ice to rescue Lena. The ice became precariously thin as they approached Lena so they stopped several yards away from her.
With only a nylon tow strap in hand, Officer Olson began tossing the tow strap in Lena’s direction until he was able to get a loop around her head. He gave the strap to Mike and lay flat on the ice to distribute his weight and inch closer to Lena while Mike gently pulled Lena up and out of the water.
The two men guided Lena to safety and put her in the front seat of a car where the heat and fans were on the highest settings during the drive back home. Once home, Lena had a warm bath and was dried with towels and wrapped in blankets that had been warmed in the clothes dryer.
No one knew how long Lena had been in the icy water. But it is a RAGOM Christmas miracle that word of Lena going missing spread so quickly via Facebook, a good Samaritan located Lena and reported the sighting, and a brave police officer and a citizen put themselves in harm’s way to bring Lena safely back home.
RAGOM extends their deepest gratitude to everyone involved in the search and rescue: Dave Frisch, the Worthington Police Department, Officer Tyler Olson, Officer Brandon Peil, and those who mobilized in the search efforts on Christmas day and December 26: Mike and Missy and Sydney Burns, Missy’s father Jerry, Scott Burns and family, Kelly Burns, the village of RAGOM volunteers, and The Retrievers.