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Pup Pulled From Lake OK After 'Emotional' Rescue

By Benjamin Woodard | January 2, 2013 1:15pm | Updated on January 2, 2013 2:42pm

ROGERS PARK — The owner of Zeus the Siberian husky was back to walking his pooch around the neighborhood Wednesday after an "emotional" nighttime rescue from the icy waters of Lake Michigan.

The 20-month-old pup had braved a half-hour in the lake Tuesday night before being rescued by the Chicago Fire Department's Scuba Unit.

Zeus' owner, Chris Roberts, took his canine companion to a vet after the ordeal, and he seemed to have made a speedy recovery.

"He's a bad a--," said Roberts, while Zeus, begging for attention, jumped and planted two paws on his chest. "I'm glad he's all right."

Roberts, 33, said he would have lost more than a best friend had Zeus not been rescued. An Iraq War veteran, Roberts got Zeus after his therapist recommended he get a pet dog to ease symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

About 5 p.m. New Year's Day, Roberts had let Zeus off the leash in a grass field at Loyola Beach, but the pup took off toward the lake, his favorite place to play during the summer months.

"He's a husky, man. He doesn't like to just hang around," Roberts said. "He takes off like a wild animal."

Zeus apparently fell through the ice about 75 feet from the shore.

As rescuers arrived and suited up in wetsuits, the barks and howls coming from the cold, wet darkness faded away — and all eventually went silent.

“I thought it was over," said Roberts, who tried to walk out on the ice, but he quickly found it was too weak to hold his weight.

Then onlookers and rescuers heard a faint whimper farther north up the beach.

It was Zeus hanging to the edge of the ice in the frigid waters. A firefighter quickly pulled the dog ashore.

Roberts spent some time in the ambulance warming up his canine companion in a blanket after the ordeal.

Police issued Roberts a $35 ticket for having his dog off the leash.

Six police units, five fire trucks, the scuba team and police marine boats responded to the call for help, an officer said.

"It felt amazing" when Zeus was found safe, Roberts said. "I got him back."