ELYRIA — What could have come to a cold, sad ending Monday became a heartwarming tail, er, tale, thanks to Nelson Delgado, Lorain County chief deputy dog warden.
About 3 p.m. Monday, Delgado and Deputy Dog Warden Brian Moore responded to a report of a German Shepherd trapped on the ice of the Black River by the 600 block of East River Road. Delgado said a neighbor told him the dog had been stuck on the river, pacing back and forth since about 1p.m., unable to climb up the approximately 100-foot embankment. Buddy, a 6-year-old purebred, had gotten loose from his home at 118 Lincoln St., said his owner, Jerry Ferrell, when reached later.
With the temperature about 2 degrees at the time, according to the National Weather Service, the 175-pound Delgado worried about crashing through the ice if he went out to try to grab Buddy. “There was no way I was going to walk on that ice,” said Delgado, who said he performed a similar rescue on the ice about eight years ago.
Delgado and Moore drove to the other side of the riverbank and then walked down to the embankment to Buddy, who was happy to see them.
“He was like, ‘Oh, man, somebody’s going to take me out of here finally,’” Delgado said. “It was so cold over there.”
Holding onto a tree with his left hand, Delgado used a nylon leash with a loop to lasso Buddy and pull him from the ice. A video taken by Moore shows Delgado rescuing Buddy and Delgado and Buddy scrambling up the steep, snowy embankment. “Good boy,” Delgado told Buddy.
Ferrell said Buddy had been let out in the front yard at noon and apparently chased a cat or squirrel from the yard and got lost. Ferrell said he and his girlfriend, Nikki Molnar, had been searching for Buddy for three hours and had become extremely worried, due to the severe cold.
Ferrell said he was grateful to Delgado and Moore for their efforts in the bone-chilling cold. “It was just amazing that someone would put the time in to do that,” Ferrell said.
The 48-year-old Delgado, hired in 1997, said Buddy was grateful when dropped off at Ferrell’s home and licked his hand when Delgado left.
“He was like saying, ‘Hey, thank you,’” Delgado said. “He was very happy to be back home.”