October 25, 2014

Elyria
Cloudy
50°F
test

Avon firefighters assist woman who lost dog in lake

AVON — After her Barin terrier Sparky fell into a lake Wednesday night, 76-year-old Paula Gambacciani ran out onto the ice looking for the dog she had owned and loved for 16 years.

Sparky fell into the water near Lake Harbor about 10 p.m. Wednesday night after having an apparent seizure. After Gambacciani ran out to the ice to look for Sparky herself, neighbors called the Fire Department, which sent firefighters to Gambacciani’s aid.

The men ventured out to look for the dog, but couldn’t find Sparky.

On Thursday morning, however, firefighters Mike Panehat, Eric Dudziak, Jeff Collins and Sean Byrns returned, breaking through the ice in wet suits to pull Sparky’s body from the water.

“They put her in a box and wrapped her in a towel before they knocked on my door,” Gambacciani said, adding that the firefighters were sympathetic.

Gambacciani, who lives alone in Avon, said Sparky and her other dog, Chica, are her closest companions, adding that Sparky would even follow her around the house.

“She’s still my baby,” Gambacciani said.

She was touched by the kindness firefighters showed.

“More than anything, it was their compassion,” Gambacciani said.

Contact Anna Merriman at 329-7245 or amerriman@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnaLMerriman.


  • Shelley Miller

    This is so sad yet touching also. What wonderful compassionate men to do this and bring comfort to this woman. Thank you

  • jp

    maybe a cairn terrier? No such thing as a barin terrier that I know of.

  • Dan Miller

    Great job Avon crew! Really well done!

  • Dave Keener

    Well done AFD. Community and compassion.

  • Dave Sommers

    The dog should have been on a leash.