It took a scarf and two women to save Pipit the dog from an icy waste-water pond.
The day after New Year’s, Stacy Mote, an environmental scientist, had driven to a waste-water facility north of Columbus to go birdwatching. Mote and her cousin, Amy Causey, were looking for American pipits on that cold January day.
As the two were making their way back to the car, Mote noticed something out of the ordinary in a pond nearby. A gray dog had found its way onto a floating boom — a manmade floating barrier used to catch debris in rivers and ponds. The dog was stuck in the middle, straddling the boom and frozen in fear.
“We were pretty sure he wouldn’t have made it through the night,” said Mote, 40. “You could tell he had been there for a while.”
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The cousins sprang into action. At first, they tried to coax him out. When that didn’t work, Mote decided to go into the pond to save him. She was able to climb onto the boom, lasso the dog with her scarf and bring him to land.
“He was freezing,” she said. “He was just pitiful.”
The cousins drove the dog to different Columbus veterinary offices and fire stations, hoping to find someone to take him in. With no takers, someone suggested they bring him to PAWS Humane. Staffers there referred them to the city’s animal control center next door, where the Australian cattle dog mix was checked in.
Mote would visit and bring treats for the dog every so often, checking to make sure the canine would be able to move to PAWS Humane for adoption — which he eventually did. Mote had a 10-year-old cat at home and wasn’t sure they would get along, so she was hesitant to adopt the dog.
“(But) there was just something tugging at me about this dog,” she said.
Mote’s cue was a phone call she received from PAWS Humane staffers a few days into the dog's stay. They had tested him with cats and he had done just fine.
Mote then decided the dog would come home with her. She adopted him just a couple of weeks after his waste-water rescue. She named the dog Pipit because that was the type of bird she was searching for when she first found the dog.
“I’m sure he probably would have found a good home,” Mote said. “But because of what the three of us went through to get him out (of the pond), there’s this bond...We went through so much to make sure he was safe.”
Mote said 1 1/2-year-old Pipit is gradually adjusting to home life. He enjoys running and hanging out at her office, an environmental consulting firm she co-owns.
“I feel like he is just so excited to have somebody to love him,” she said.