To the Editor:
It was quite a day today. Most importantly, my dog Aggie and I are fine.
Aggie chased a pair of swans across the semi-frozen Edgartown Great Pond and fell in and couldn’t get out. My rescue attempt landed me in the water as well. Of course, I had my phone with me, in the water. I’d had the phone in my hand thinking about calling for help but decided to try to help Aggie first. I then put the phone back in my pocket and attempted to go out on the ice on all fours and fell in. The crazy things adrenalin and love will allow you to do. Why didn’t I use the cell phone to call for help first? Why didn’t I take the dang thing out of my pocket before I went in?
I had been counting my lucky stars that I was the only person on all of South Beach — until that moment. No working cell, dog in freezing water clinging to the edge of the ice in the middle of the pond, and me, soaking wet and freezing. I screamed at the top of my lungs. Help. Saw no one. I went back to trying to swim to her and playing ice breaker to open a channel for her to swim out. The water just kept getting deeper.
A young man in a truck was on his way home from work along the beach. He had been dredging on the pond. He either heard or saw me. I yelled for him to get something to help me to get to Aggie. He had an oar. I used it to continue swimming and breaking the ice. The young man kept me focused and called to Aggie to reassure her. We had hoped she’d grab onto the oar to pull herself out.
Finally, with the young man’s continued encouragement, I got the channel open to Aggie. She swam out and I followed. The young man got us both into his warm truck and took us home. The young man was Greg Bettencourt. He was in my daughter’s class from Edgartown School through high school.
Aggie is now cuddled up on her bed in her crate. She seems no worse for wear. I am finally warmed up. Thankfully, I just have a story to tell, a waterlogged cell phone and a reminder of how lucky we are to have young men like Greg on our Island. His calm and reassuring presence arrived at just the right moment. Aggie and I are most grateful.
Please, remember not to walk your dogs off leash near our frozen ponds.
Stay warm and dry.