I did something really stupid yesterday. I wasn’t thinking. It caused me and our dog, Phoenix, a lot of stress and anxiety.
It was snowing. It was cold, but not as cold as it has been. I thought I’d go for an extra long walk in the woods – a treat for surviving what was a very dark month. January was extra cold and dismal. I imagined this long walk with the snow falling would be peaceful and rejuvenating. Just what I needed. Was I in for a shock! I walked as far as the bridge over the river. It is about a 5 km walk. The big snowflakes looked beautiful as they floated down into the water. I wanted to take some pictures and video, but the dog kept pulling on me. I let him off the leash. We’ve been there lots of times before. Mostly, when he’s off leash, he walks along the edge looking at the water or he pokes around in the bushes nearby. He seldom goes swimming unless I throw a stick and he jumps in to retrieve it – a summertime activity.
The river was partly frozen. It was gorgeous. Part ice, part running water. For those of you who live in snowy areas, I’m sure you can see my mistake already. Perhaps some of the rest of you can imagine it too. The dog didn’t stay at the edge of the river, he walked to the edge of the ice, which broke. He fell into the freezing water.
He immediately tried to get out the same way he went in. Front paws holding desperately onto the ice, he tried to pull himself out. The ice kept breaking. He couldn’t get a grip to pull himself out. He didn’t want to let go of the one solid thing he had hold of. Very close to him there was a patch of river where there was no ice right up to the shoreline. I tried to call him to swim to shore, which was only a meter or two away, but he was panicked and would not let go of the ice. It took about 10 or 15 seconds before I realized I would need to go in after him and help him get out. I waded in, thick down coat, winter boots and all. The water was freezing. I pulled him out. We both stood dripping and shivering on the bank. The whole thing took only 20 seconds (although it felt much longer). Soaking wet and cold, in the middle of the conservation area and quite a long way from home, I quickly decided we needed to get moving. With my jeans dripping and my boots full of water, home felt too far away. I decided that it would be closer to get to one of the other entrances and have someone pick us up. I called my son and had him meet us.
Phoenix and I ran the 1.5 km to keep warm and get to the entrance as fast as we could. It was very stressful. Happily, despite the stress of the incident, we are both fine. You can be sure that I won’t be letting Phoenix off near the icy river any time soon.
Sometimes, we get so fixated on the problem, we just need someone else to help pull us out.
I am running a mental fitness course for professional women, starting February the 5th. You can still register for that course today. If the mental fitness course interests you but you need a little more time, please reach out for more information and I will put you on the waitlist for March.
Kindness is a foundational part of our Beyond the Shadow business philosophy. You’ll experience this in our caring and compassionate attitude. You’ll feel it in the openness of our conversations. In the calm, safe space of coaching, you’ll find energy for reflection and growth. You’ll walk away encouraged.