Speaking of Frightening… Another Shiva Mishap Avoided


Sometimes it feels like Shiva and I are living on borrowed time. As she is my first dog I don’t know if the kind of danger we encounter on a monthly basis is normal for life with a canine or if near-death experiences just seem to tread in Shiva’s shadow. Maybe we’re just that lucky.

Now that the temperatures have dropped from bearably chilly to unseasonably frigid, it seems dogs have a new enemy to fear and humans have one more thing to keep on our radar. In Nova Scotia alone I’ve heard of two stories related to dogs falling through ice-covered lakes. One had a happy ending. I wish I could say the same for the other.

Typically Shiva is not a fan of icy surfaces unless I have proven to her they are safe. Her distrust of deep water keeps her on the shore even in the winter. It usually takes a lot of encouragement to get her to take a step into the unknown. You see, she can’t be sure the lake monster is hibernating. Sometimes he likes to pretend, lying in wait for unsuspecting puppies who trot along the ice.

You’ll notice I said typically. Shiva also likes to keep me guessing. Right when I think it’s okay to relax, she does something completely unpredictable and out of character. Often this just leaves me laughing. Unfortunately, it can also get us both into trouble.

Yesterday morning was bright and clear so I decided to head into the forest. I had the day off so wasn’t worried about getting home at a certain time. It was just the two of us, human and dog, enjoying nature. After a few games of hide and seek, we walked down towards the lake.

Well, I walked. Shiva torpedoed.

Because it was slippery on the trail, I took my time getting to the bottom of the hill. There was no one else around and I wasn’t worried she’d go too far. Shiva never likes to go where she can’t see me for very long. Her abandonment issues come in handy. So as I made my way to the shore she ran back and forth, up and down, on either side of the trail. Very typical actions for her. However, once I got close enough to where she could see me from the lake, she did something new.

Racing up behind me she then tore ahead, beyond the trees, up on the rocks and right onto the semi-frozen water.

I don’t know how many agility videos you have seen of my wackadoodle but Shiva runs fast. Too fast. Much faster than the synapses of my brain. It didn’t even register with me that Shiva was zooming over the barely-ice-covered lake before she was already a quarter of the way across. When I finally did acknowledge it, I could hear the ice cracking under her feet as she moved. A sound that clearly meant nothing to her as she kept moving forward regardless.

I was so startled by her unusual lake bravado that all I could do was call her name in a surprised tone. This had her turning around to face me, ears pricked. Only then did she realize how there was now nothing but cold water where there used to be solid ice. This discovery showed in her expression and if I had been closer I am sure I would have seen panic in her eyes.

Not that this stopped her movement. Shiva then chose to leap around the water in order to get back to me on the shore. Jumping on thin ice is not recommended, unfortunately, and she went right through. Luckily, before I had to take any action to rescue her, Shiva’s survival instincts finally activated – she apparently does have a tiny sense of self-preservationand she started to half-swim, half-flail her way out of the water. She made it over to a rock and then jumped the rest of the way to dry land.

This all happened in a very short period, less than a minute, but it felt like at least ten. We came very close to a nightmare scenario and I won’t forget it any time soon.

Shiva herself was pretty shaken up after it was all over. Her eyes were pretty wide and she had to do a lot of running before she could calm down. I hope this will make her more cautious around the lake in the future but I can never be sure with her. Water is probably her largest remaining fear and yet even that didn’t stop her from rushing out this time. She isn’t the type of dog to let one mishap deter her from trying again either.

It doesn’t matter how many times she falls on her ass after taking the teeter the wrong way. She’ll do it again if given half a chance.

Life with a Shiva can be precarious at times. I have to balance between protecting her and giving her a full, active life. She doesn’t make it easy. But I know I can’t let my fears for her safety keep us indoors all the time either. It’s not fair to either of us.

Besides, don’t most accidents happen inside the home? I have no doubt she could get into trouble just about anywhere. Including in a padded room.

31 thoughts on “Speaking of Frightening… Another Shiva Mishap Avoided

  1. Shiva seems to sense that you have a great talent for descriptive writing and she is trying to inspire you.

    I’ve had dogs all my life (none quite like Shiva though) and I am sure that she will eventually mellow out and both of you can look back with longing on the days when nightmare scenarios were the norm.


    • Yeah, I have lived a long time in Fl and I do think it is something in the water here to make everyone have strange desires. Usually, I say the heat gets to their brains but it is winter here; albiet about 80 degrees today???


  2. OMG you must have been terrified…I can feel the adrenalin surging just by reading your post…sometimes, despite our best efforts to keep them safe our pets manage to put themselves into precarious and/or life-threatening circumstances & sometimes all we can do is stand by and watch helplessly…I’m am so happy that this time turned out well for you and Shiva


  3. Holy crap! That’s very scary and something I too, would be in a complete panic over. I gotta say that when it’s winter, I avoid places where there could be partly frozen bodies of water, I’m too paranoid. So glad that it ended okay.

    Happy New Year!


  4. Oh my God Kristine. Reading this freaked me out. Oh my God.

    This is actually one of my biggest fears for Jasper. Daisy is less likely to leave my side and will only enter water, but Jasper would be the one mist likely to run onto ice like Shiva did. It’s one of the reasons we don’t go to the Mississippi River dog park in winter and early spring. It’s also one of the reasons I leash Jasper whenever we go to the other park. It has a lake that is fed by an underground spring, which means it never completely freezes over.

    I am so very glad Shiva is okay. I am also glad it freaked her out. I so hope it deters her in the future. Thank God she is okay. My heart would have been in my throat.


  5. Sounds like something both my dogs would do. It’s like when Barbie aims for half-submerged rocks while running at the beach, or when Bender had to fall down the stairs at the holiday house TWICE before he decided to stay away from them.


  6. Oh I am glad she is OK. Good thing she was able to get out. Without a thick coat, it is a good thing she didn’t freeze. Ice scares me. Even for our double-coated dogs that were bred to break ice. We leash our dogs around ice since they have no fear of water and you never know if they may see something to catch their fancy and head on out.


  7. Oh my gosh Kristine!! I gasped aloud in a number of spots, so grateful that Shiva is okay and you didn’t have to swim for her. I worry about this with Delilah and just noticed that the area we hiked her not too long ago was just beginning to ice over. While not quite as fast as Shiva she’s excited for water and hard to hold back.

    I bet you needed a lot of running to settle down yourself. 🙂


  8. That must have been so scary! I”m SO GLAD she was able to get right out. She probably didn’t realize she was running out onto ice. Something similar happened with Kelly. She swam out in the lake after some ducks, and then got too far and was too tired to swim back. I saw her panic, it was scary. We rescued her in a rowboat.
    I hope Shiva doesn’t run out onto the ice again! Hug her for me.


  9. Holy moly! Doesn’t sound like there was any real way to see that coming, given her usual activity. Wow! I’m glad you’re both safe and sound!


  10. That really must have been scary! How did she cope with being soaking wet in such cold weather?

    I have had a couple near misses with the lake in my neighborhood. When it freezes over, I now keep the guys leashed because heaven forbid they see a fox or some deer across the lake, they would be gone in a heartbeat. I doubt they would make it across safely and even if they did, would then be too far from me!


  11. That is so scary!! I’m glad Shiva was able to get herself out of that pickle safely. Hopefully, she will have learned her lesson!

    I understand your fear of ice & winter water. We took a trip up to Mt Hood on New Years Eve and as my husband and I discussed where to go, I had one requirement: nowhere near any water, frozen or otherwise. ‘Cause Sadie has no regard for her own safety around water. And I could see myself jumping in after her to save her.


  12. I definitely wish Charlie had a fear of water now that winter has come around, we have hit negative degrees on more than a few days this year! It feels like a yo yo sometimes, the things that make my life fun in the summer terrify me in the winter.


  13. Super scary! We used to live in Canada and our beagle ran out onto the ice on the river once and broke through while my hubs was walking here. Glad I wasn’t there or I’d have freaked out! He was just about to take of his coat and go after her when she managed to pull herself up onto the ice (she had amazingly crazy strong front legs for a dog because she loved to chase the laser-light at home and would push off the walls chasing after it). Then she raced around devil-dogging to get warm.

    I’m glad everything turned out okay in the end!


  14. Good lord, your heart must have stopped in your chest! I think we’ve all had moments like that and can relate, so thankful Shiva’s instincts kicked in.


  15. Holy crap, Kristine. Just reading this made my heart relocate to my throat. I’m relieved to hear that Shiva and you are okay. I’m sure it will take you more time to get over it than her. Why are dogs so weird sometimes?


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