AMHERST, NY (WIVB/CNN) - A New York man says he didn’t hesitate to wade into waist-deep icy water to save the life of a stranger’s dog.
Don Chatten loves animals, including his two dogs, who he says alerted him Thursday to a situation in the water at Ellicott Island Bark Park in Amherst, NY.
"My dog Milo, he stopped and looked down at the water. I thought he was looking at a duck or a bird or something of that nature. But I said, ‘Come on, let's go,’ so I started pulling him to go and get in the car, and they both stopped and looked again. And then, I heard a faint whimper,” Chatten said.
That’s when Chatten saw a small black dog in the icy water. He immediately ran for the creek.
“At first, I was like 'OK, what do I do?' I kind of panicked a little bit. But once I got down there, I said, ‘Well, it's either the dog or me getting a little wet,’” Chatten said.
The good Samaritan waded through the water, breaking ice along the way to rescue the dog, later identified as Jackson.
Jackson’s owner, Michael Litten rushed the pup off to the veterinarian, while Chatten warmed up in the car. The dog was released from the vet Friday morning, according to Chatten.
Litten says Chatten is a hero.
"You know, you don't find people who will go out of their way to do stuff for you… let alone jump in the ice-cold river and save your dog. I just can't even say thank you enough,” Litten said.
Chatten says he’d be willing to do it all over again, if it meant saving another dog.
“I'll do it again, if it was tomorrow. I mean, I'm a dog lover, and I don't want to see any dog get hurt,” Chatten said.