Iraq War veteran rescues dog that fell through ice

Dog fell through ice 150 yards from shore

When Justin Neumeier’s dog, Charles, fell through the ice on Lake Mason, the instincts he developed as a U.S. Marine serving Iraq kicked in and he went out to rescue the black lab.

“Maybe it was my Marine Corps mentality, just get it done,” Neumeier said.

Serving with the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine, Neumeier saw some of the wars toughest combat in the battle for Ramadi in 2004.

Neumeier says the ice was only a half-inch thick and he could hear it cracking beneath him as he made his way out to Charles. The dog was exhausted from being in the water, which made it difficult for Neumeier to get it out of the water. He had to carry the 90 pound dog back to shore on thin ice.

“It probably was not the smartest thing to do in the world, but there are things you care about and things that have a heart and a pulse. You care enough that you want to get them and you treat them right and let them live a good life,” Neumeier said.

A veterinarian examined the dog after it was rescued. That vet believes, given the body temperature of the dog, it would not have survived much longer in the water.

“When the deed is done, then you realize, OK, boy, I really could have lost him. So you get a little different appreciation for things,” Neumeier said.

The current ice conditions on lakes and rivers in southern Wisconsin are unsafe for pets and humans.