Alaska teacher rescues his dog after animal fell under ice in river

An Alaska teacher's dog is on safe ground again after the Labrador mix fell into a hole in the river ice and was carried away by the current during a hike on a popular trail.

Travis Gottlin thought he had lost his 2-year-old dog Ashii after it slipped under the Chena River ice Friday evening near the Angel Rocks trailhead, about 50 miles east of Fairbanks, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner newspaper ( reported. All Gottlin could see was darkness and water, and he couldn't break through the thick ice, so the outcome looked bleak.

"I just kind of sat down and started to cry," Gottlin recalled Monday. "I didn't think there was anything I could do."

Gottlin, a science teacher in the interior Alaska community of Nenana, heard a bump under the ice and the sound of Ashii whining about 20 feet from where the dog disappeared. The ice was thin enough there that Gottlin was able to kick out a hole large enough to grab Ashii by the collar and pull him out.

Dog and owner were both soaking wet. But the dog was otherwise fine except for a scratch on his nose.

Gottlin, who is originally from Riverview, Michigan, has had Ashii since it was a puppy. Gottlin and his fiancée have three dogs, but only Ashii went with him on the hike.


Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner,