Firefighters rescue dog from frigid waters of Duluth Ship Canal. Here’s the video.

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DULUTH, Minn. — The Duluth Fire Department on Monday released video footage of firefighters rescuing a dog from the eight-foot waves of the Duluth Ship Canal last week. The rescue, which happened on Dec. 7, included firefighters in survival float suits climbing into the ship canal and struggling to find the dark-colored dog as it slipped below each big wave.

Firefighters responded to the call at about 6:20 p.m. with some crews going directly to the scene and others headed to the Pier B resort complex where they launched a 14-foot inflatable rescue boat.

As crews were en route, St. Louis County Dispatchers were able to use cameras on the Aerial Lift Bridge being controlled by the bridge operator to help pinpoint the caller’s location. Upon arrival, crews found the dog’s owner on the south pier on the lake side of the bridge.

The firefighters climbed in and made their way toward where the dog was last seen but had difficulty finding the animal. Firefighters on land and the dog’s owner used portable lights and shouted directions to the firefighters in the water to help locate the dog.

The rescuers were finally able to get a hold of the dog by his collar but “were not able to do much more against the heavy waves other than help keep him from going under again. The dog was large, scared and was struggling, which added to the difficulty,’’ according to a report written by Daniel Lattner, an assistant fire chief who was on duty that night. “The crew and dog were being swept in towards the bay and as they were passing under the bridge when (the fire department’s boat) arrived on scene.”

Firefighters in the boat were able to get the dog and the firefighters in the water into the boat and brought them back to the calmer waters of the Pier B slip where the exhausted dog was treated for hypothermia and reunited with its owners.

“He had stopped shivering, was able to walk on his own and was wagging his tail as he jumped into his owner’s car,’’ Lattner noted.

Lattner said after the event that if they hadn’t acted, someone else on shore likely would have.

“The Duluth Fire Department understands how important pets are to their families. We have learned in the fire service that if we do not respond to help in these situations, bystanders and owners likely will take action on their own,’’ Lattner noted in his report. “Without the proper training and equipment, this most often results in the firefighters now responding to a call for a person in harm’s way. On this call, one of the notes taken by St. Louis County Dispatchers and transmitted to fire crews stated ‘The female reporting party is threatening to jump in.’”

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