“I am the man in the kayak,” announced Paul Rachlin in an email to me, also introducing the dog he went out on the ice to rescue this Sunday as his brave 'puggle.'
Turns out even a character like Jack Bauer needs rescuing sometimes.
Rachlin said that when the beagle/pug mix, named "Jack Bauer" after the 24 star, ran off onto the ice and then fell into the frigid waters of Tarrytown's Upper Lake about 100 feet from shore, his owner felt he had no choice but do all he could – which in his mind was to go home and get a kayak.
Rachlin said he is an experienced kayaker and took “a number of precautions” before setting out on the ice, including wearing a life jacket. “I did not believe my dog would have survived much longer in the frozen water so I feel the action of my wife, Tricia, and I took was reasonable under the circumstances," he said.
His wife called 911 around 1:40 p.m. as a precaution, said Rachlin, while he began “shimmying along the ice in the kayak" toward the dog. He managed to get the dog into the boat and then make his way back to shore.
“At no time was I personally in any distress or danger,” he said, expressing only gratitude for the fire and police crews, as well as DPW foreman Scott Weaver, standing by if anything went wrong.
"Everyone on the scene was really great and happy Jack Bauer was saved," though Rachlin admitted there was some confusion with some who thought he was out kayaking for fun.
Fire Chief Eugene Gasparre again voiced his concern that Rachlin made the rash move to go out on the ice at all, when falling through, catching hypothermia and drowning are real risks.
"People should stay off the unsupervised lakes, and call for help immediately," Gasparre cautioned.
Jack Bauer was treated for hypothermia at the Sleepy Hollow Animal Hospital but reportedly recovered quickly and was discharged the same night, having suffered only the loss of a nail from his struggle on the ice.