PANDORA — Heroism has many faces, takes many forms. And those in need of rescue aren’t always who we expect.

Last Thursday, a group of men from Pandora saved a life. That the being in jeopardy possessed four legs rather than two bears little weight in the


The episode opened with Steven “Hippy” Bishop, a local business owner.

Outside his home and business at roughly 11 a.m., Bishop was greeted by an unfamiliar, but exuberantly friendly dog; a Samoyed. Bishop made the dog’s acquaintance, and offered her treats, what he described as “Scooby Snacks.” With introductions and snacks out of the way, Bishop returned inside, then decided to get some photos.

Back outside, Bishop saw the dog cross the street, then light out for the creek.

“He saw some geese or ducks, and he just barreled and flew right in there,” Bishop said, recounting the moment the dog entered Riley Creek. “I knew he was in trouble because there was ice and everything back there and he just couldn’t get out. He knew as soon as he went in. I heard him start to squeal a little bit, whine and whimper.”

Rather than risk falling in himself, Bishop called Pandora Chief of Police Scott Stant.

A dog lover with two labradors of his own at home, Stant responded quickly. On his way to the site, he recalled that a village work crew was in the area. Stant contacted the crew — comprised of Village Administrator Rick Morrison and workers Ryan Shartell and Joe Kaufman — and conscripted their aid.

Conveniently, the crew was working on a water main break, and Shartell was wearing waders.

At creek’s edge, Kaufman tied a line to the back of Shartell’s waders — “I wasn’t going in there unless I was tied off,” Shartell said — and the man worked his way across the ice to the dog, breaking through and joining the canine in the Riley’s frigid waters.

“I could see the bottom of the creek, so I wasn’t worried,” Shartell said, “but the water was freezing. The dog, you could tell, was definitely freezing.”

Despite being among strangers, the dog offered no resistance as Shartell hooked her with his hand and hauled her up on the ice.

Lethargic after nearly half an hour in the water, the dog heaved herself over the ice and onto the bank, where first Chief Stant grabbed her collar, then turned her over to Morrison. Half frozen, the dog fell to her side before Morrison scooped her up, threw her up onto his shoulder, and carried her back to Hippy’s garage, where Bishop provided even more “Scooby Snacks,” and the team placed a call to County Dog Warden Mike Schroth.

Schroth took custody of the dog and drove her back to the dog shelter. There he posted her picture on the internet and, that evening, got a call.

“I posted it on Facebook, and it worked out real well that the owner actually saw it,” Schroth said. “He just moved here from Findlay within the last month or so. The dog was excited to see him, and he took her back home. Her name is Ruger.”

As to how the dog came to be wandering the streets of Pandora is as interesting a tale as the rescue itself.

According to Schroth, Ruger is full-time inside dog, and a recent transplant to Pandora from Findlay.

“He said he has a sliding door, and it was frozen shut,” Schroth said, relating a conversation he had with Ruger’s unidentified owner. “When the temperatures warmed up a little bit, the dog was able to slide the door open, and went out when he was at work.”