Schenectady firefighters praised after Wednesday Iroquois Lake dog rescue

Schenectady firefighter Christopher McCabe carries Victor to shore Wednesday morning
Schenectady firefighter Christopher McCabe carries Victor to shore Wednesday morning

SCHENECTADY — Two city firefighters braved cold waters on Wednesday to rescue a poodle who ended up in the water at Central Park.

Schenectady Fire Department responded to a call about a dog in distress before 9 a.m. When firefighters arrived, they found a poodle in the middle of Iroquois Lake. 

The canine was paddling, but appeared to be getting tired, said firefighter Christopher McCabe.

McCabe and firefighter Anthony Catalfamo hooked up a rescue system consisting of ropes and donned life preservers.

They then successfully retrieved the dog in chest-high water.

Once all were out of the cold water, both the rescuers and the dog, whose name is Victor, were checked out at the scene. The dog’s owner then took Victor to an animal hospital to be checked out further.

“The dog appeared to be in good condition,” Assistant Fire Chief Donald Mareno said.

As for how the dog got into the lake, Mareno said it appeared the dog’s owner tied the canine to a garbage can, which proved not enough to hold the animal. 

A loud noise startled the pooch, who then took off with a portion of the container in tow.

The pet’s owner didn’t return a call seeking comment.

Rescuers needed to be careful in the cold water to avoid muscle cramps, Mareno said.

“There’s definitely some risk they took, but safety precautions were taken.”

Images: Schenectady firefighters rescue dog from frigid Iroquois Lake, May 15, 2019

He acknowledged dog rescues are rare.

“These guys do a lot of training. When you get an unusual call, you take bits and pieces of those training elements and put it all together.” 

He wanted to acknowledge and thank Mohawk Ambulance, who also responded to the scene. 

Both McCabe and Catalfamo were modest about the rescue, but said it felt good to help someone.

Chief Ray Senecal said he was proud of his team.

“Our job is to help people,” he said. “That’s what we do.” 

Before Victor was tracked down, the owner phoned Head to Tail Wellness Center on Union Street and asked for help in retrieving the wayward animal.

Owner Margie DeBrocky dispatched a crack team of five employees to locate the canine, using leads and treats as a lure.

They eventually located Victor at Central Park, where an employee went into the water to retrieve Victor before first responders arrived.

The business fields about one call annually to help track down escaped dogs. 

“We’re always happy when a dog gets rescued,” DeBrocky said. “I would hope if something happened to my dog, people would help me.”

Also Wednesday:

Categories: News, Schenectady County


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