CROWN POINT — When an elderly Alaskan husky became trapped in an in-ground pool under the winter cover, two canine-loving Crown Point officers came to her rescue.
The drama unfolded at 7:59 p.m. June 26 in the 800 block of West Joliet Street when shift supervisor Sgt. James Poling, Cpl. Stanko Gligic and Officer Travis Thomas responded to a 911 call. The caller said their neighbor's 16-year-old Alaskan husky, whom they were watching while the pet’s owner was away, fell through their winter cover into the pool.
According to the incident report, the caller believed the dog was drowning under the pool cover.
Gligic said the officers ran to the backyard where they saw the pool. It was not yet opened for the season and the winter cover was held down by sandbags.
“We didn’t see the dog,” Gligic said. “We didn’t hear the dog so Jim (Poling) and I started pulling back the cover. We got all the way to the end and didn’t see the dog. The water was so dark since it hadn’t been open for a while and we thought for sure the dog was dead. We actually said ‘this is going to go from a rescue to a recovery.’”
Then the officers reached the very last part of the pool and pulled the last part of the cover and spotted the scared husky.
“I said ‘There she is!’” Gligic said. “I saw her head above water. I grabbed her by her collar and she was so scared. She was yelping.”
Poling took his vest off and jumped into the water.
“He grabbed her torso and I grabbed by her neck and collar and we just scooped her out of the water the best we could,” Gligic said. “Jim got the most wet. He got down on his stomach and hiked her up while I bent over and yanked her up. As far as getting down and dirty in the water, I want to give Sgt. Poling a well-deserved ‘Atta boy’ because he is the one who took his vest off and who got in the water.”
After her rescue, the dog was dazed, Gligic said.
"She kind of walked it off. We were all happy. We said ‘nice job’ and gave each other high fives.”
The dog’s owner, Donna Pfledderer, sent a thank you note to the department and the officers for saving Nikala.
“Words cannot express our gratitude for all you do on a daily basis, but also for those who go above and beyond your call of duty,” Pfledderer said. “Such was the case two weeks ago when you rescued our husky from my neighbor’s pool.”
Pfledderer said her aging husky has failing eyesight which probably explains why Nikala tried walking on the pool cover. She said her neighbor, who was watching Nikala, was distraught over the incident but grateful to the officers who saved the husky.
Gligic, a 17-year law enforcement veteran, has spent seven years with the Crown Point Police Department and is one of the department’s K-9 officers. In that capacity, he carries an extra leash in his squad car.
“I took her out for a little bit of a walk just so she could get her bearings and we put her back in the house,” Gligic said.
Gligic’s K-9 partner of six years is Radar, who in December was partly responsible for securing a double murder suspect in Merrillville.
“He’s been very successful,” Gligic said. “He’s been a very loyal partner.”
Poling, a known dog lover, has a German shepherd and a Labrador retriever. He is a 25-year law enforcement veteran.
“It was fitting that two dog lovers were on the call,” Gligic said. “We were happy to be the ones to save the dog.”