Matt Duckham's family dog, Patches, ran off toward the pond in Columbia Township and fell through the ice Tuesday, The Jackson Citizen Patriot reported. Duckham's mother went onto the ice to try and save the treading pup, but she also fell through.
Duckham followed, but the ice also broke underneath him. Using a tactic he learned from the Marines, he slashed at the ice with his forearms until he reached ice that was strong enough to support his weight.
"That water was rough, but your will to live overrode everything else," he said. "I was concerned about my mom, my dog and my kids. I wasn't worried about the cold."
He then pulled the 8-month-old German shepherd and his mother out of the icy water.
"I grabbed (Patches) and swung her up onto the ice and grabbed my mom and pulled her out then hauled it back to the house to get warm," Duckham said.
All three were safely out of the ice by the time firefighters arrived at the scene.
Most bodies of water have 8 inches to a foot of ice on them when temperatures drop below freezing, said Columbia Township Fire Chief Scott Cota.
But the Duckhams' pond has three bubblers that keep the ice thin or absent in some parts of the bond, Cota said. The incident is a reminder that ice is dangerous, he said.
"No ice is safe ice," Cota said.