When Jennie Tatum let her two dogs out in the backyard of their Tennessee home in February, what started as a fun romp through the snow quickly turned dangerous.
If Tatum hadn’t jumped into action, the Murfreesboro family would have been short one member.
It was a pit bull, Sid, who had a brush with death when he dropped onto — and then into — a frozen pool.
Tatum later explained that the pool pump that normally would have kept water moving, preventing it from freezing, had gone out right before an unprecedented freeze. The pool was left with a two-inch crust of ice, which Sid plunged through.
Because Tatum had been watching, she was able to get to the pool in moments. But that was only the beginning of solving the problem, because Sid had gone under the ice, and Tatum couldn’t see him.
“It was pure adrenaline,” she told WTVF-TV. “I was not thinking about being cold.”
As backyard security video showed, Tatum dropped through the ice herself, plowing through the waist-deep section of the pool and breaking up the surface.
Still, she couldn’t find Sid.
Realizing she wasn’t going to be able to spot him while at the level of the pool, she jumped out again.
“When I was in the water, the ice was so thick I couldn’t see below until I got up and looked down,” Tatum told The Dodo. “Then I was able to see the brown shadow.”
“I think he went into shock when he hit the water,” she told WSMV-TV, “because he was basically floating when we found him.”
Finally, after the dog had been underwater for more than a minute, according to WTVF, Tatum pulled him up from under the ice, but he was too heavy for the two of them to get out of the pool.
“He’s about 50 pounds,” Tatum said. “All I could think about was to get him into the house and to get him warm.”
She put him in front of a fire she already had going inside and tried to dry him, and he started breathing. But he still wasn’t safe: His lips and tongue were blue, a sure sign he wasn’t getting the oxygen he desperately needed.
Thankfully, Tatum had a veterinarian who lived on her street, and the vet gave Sid an emergency shot. Sid then spent 36 hours at a veterinarian’s and was on antibiotics for two weeks, according to The Dodo, but he’s as good as new now.
It was incredibly fortunate that Tatum was able to get her dog out of the pool in the time frame that she did. Tatum told WTVF that her family doesn’t have a pool cover because they generally keep the pool open all year.
“I don’t think this dog had another minute based on his symptoms,” veterinarian April Smith said. “You notice he just sunk, and he would not have stood a chance without her.”
Tatum might have risked her own health to rescue her dog, but she said she would do it again in a heartbeat.
“He’s extra special, but I would’ve done it for anybody, any animal,” she told WSMV. “They’re like our family.”