Exclusive: Cary teenager saves woman, 2 dogs from icy pond

CARY, NC (WTVD) -- A Cary woman walking her two dogs in Cary's Preston Village on Thursday needed to be rescued after falling into the icy pond.

According to the woman, Aimee McIntyre, she had her dogs leashed and was walking around the park. She took a phone call and made the decision to unleash her Retriever-mix dogs, each weighing roughly 40 pounds.

"I reached into my pocket to answer the call," McIntyre said, "...and they sort of approached (the water) and the next thing I know, they were in."

McIntyre said her dogs became excited when they saw ducks playing on the pond's surface. Moments later, her dogs were submerged in the freezing water.

"I could see them struggling and I know they wouldn't be able to get out," she recalled. "Their little faces (were) sticking out and they're trying. They weren't barking. They weren't crying. They were just hanging on for dear life."

McIntyre's next decision could have proved fatal. She ventured out onto the ice to save her dogs and fell in the water herself.

"When I fell through the ice, I fell underwater and came back up," she told ABC11. "That's when I really got scared because I didn't know what to do."

McIntyre found a large chunk of ice, hopeful she could use it to float until help arrived.

"That's when you start panicking and you lose reasoning," she said.

While in the water, she waved out for help and a teenager driving by, who she later identified as teenager Jack Lawrence, noticed her and turned his car around to help her and her dogs.

Lawrence found McIntyre and her dogs in dire need and quickly sprang into action.

"So he started walking out (toward the frozen pond)," McIntyre explained. "And I said, 'Don't walk, you'll fall through. Lay down!'"

"I don't know how he did it, but he reached in and pulled (the dogs) out and then tried to help me," McIntyre said.

Friday afternoon, she said she owes a big thank you to Lawrence for his quick thinking. She sent an email to Lawrence's mom telling her of his heroic deed.

"I don't think her son knows who I am, and I wanted her to know that he saved us. That he saved our lives for sure," she said.

"In that split second, a lovely, lovely winter walk went horrible wrong and I made the mistake of letting my dogs off that leash and answering that phone call," McIntyre said.

ABC11 reached out to Wake County EMS officials for comment on potential dangers that exist when falling into icy waters during freezing temperatures.

"The body temperature goes down extremely quickly in cold water and it could become dangerous very quickly," said Jeffrey Hammerstein. "I would recommend just staying off frozen lakes and ponds ... so you don't get trapped in that."

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