Dog Floating on Iceberg Saved by Firefighters

Every runaway dog has a tale to tell, but a Labrador-mix named Milo may have bragging rights for “most dangerous” after being swept away on an iceberg on the Wisconsin River.

Milo was captain of his icy raft, estimated to be about 20 feet long and 20 feet wide, for at least a couple hours before he was first spotted by security personnel at a nearby resort.  They called the Wisconsin Dells Police Department who were joined by the Kilbourn Volunteer Fire Department in a nightfall rescue that would harness the team’s resourcefulness.

Rescuers staged the first rescue attempt just south of a dangerous part of the river known as Devil’s Elbow according to volunteer firefighter Todd Swansby who spoke with the local newspaper Wisconsin Dells Events. Unable to reach Milo, the firefighters were concerned about whether the dog would be able to stay afloat in that part of the river or if the rescue would escalate to one of a drowning dog.

This Library of Congress image shows the river at Devil's Bend.

This Library of Congress image shows the river at Devil’s Elbow.

“We weren’t sure the dog was going to make it through the narrows because that’s a very dangerous part of the river,” Swansby told the local newspaper.

But the team reorganized for a second attempt at a wider section of the river just south of Blackhawk Island. The ice along the river’s banks made it impossible to launch the fire department’s own rescue boat, but Swansby had a friend with a 14-foot john boat. They borrowed the boat and Swansby’s 40-year-old, four-horsepower engine that he purchased for $100 last summer. After securing the engine to the boat, they were ready to try again.

Firefighters chipped away at the ice at the river’s edge and used flashlights to spot the dog’s eye shine in the dark. Three firefighters boarded the boat and approached the drifting dog who excitedly watched them propel toward him.

The firefighters landed their john boat directly on Milo’s slab of ice and easily carried him back to the boat. When they returned to shore, the guys took Milo back to the firehouse where he made himself at home, enjoying a meal and a bowl of water.

Milo’s guardian Toriana Gutierrez had been looking for him all day. Both of her dogs had gotten free from their fenced in yard earlier in the day, but only one returned home, very wet.  When she came across the police department’s Facebook post of a “found dog” she couldn’t believe her eyes. And she was even more surprised to learn the details of where he’d been.


I still am curious as to how he ended up by the river floating on a piece of ice,” Gutierrez said. “I’m just glad he is home, him and his brother are all snuggled on the couch under the blankets now.”


Marie W
Marie W7 months ago

Thanks for posting.

Melania Padilla
Melania P9 months ago


Robert B
Robert B10 months ago

Thank you Firemen!!!

Robert B
Robert B10 months ago

So happy for Milo!!

Cindy M. D
Cindy M. Dutka10 months ago

Many thanks and blessings to the firefighters who rescued Milo. I just wish Milo could talk and tell us about his unexpected "adventure"!!! Would be great to hear.

Telica R
Telica R10 months ago

Thank you for caring and sharing

iveta NoFwdsPls c
iveta NoFwdsPls cer10 months ago

Lucky pup thank you for saving his life !!!!

Pat P
Pat P10 months ago

Thanks to the firefighters, but how in the hell did this poor dog end up floating in the middle of a river on an ice floe?!

Sheila S
Sheila S10 months ago

Amazing rescue with a happy reunion! Who could ask for a better story?

Cheryl Sickler
Cheryl Sickler10 months ago

True heros! Thank you for warming my heart! Xoxo