Wheatfield man who jumped into freezing creek to rescue dog says he’s no hero, credits own dog for finding him

The mystery has been solved. The incredible human who rescued a dog that fell into the freezing water at Ellicott Creek Dog Park yesterday is a Wheatfield man who says he’s no hero, although he jumped into freezing cold temperatures with no hesistation to rescue a dog he didn’t even know.

Don Chatten was at the park with his two rescue dogs, Milo, a Labrador beagle mix, and Duke, a German Shepherd mix, when a gentleman approached him and asked if he had seen a little black dog that got away from him.

“I said, ‘No, but i’ll look for him if you want.’”

Chatten went to the other side of the island to help look for the dog for ten minutes. He assumed the owner had found him and as he was leaving, his dog, Milo, stopped him at the foot of the bridge to look back down at the water.

“I thought he saw a duck. He’s a hunter kind of a dog, so I said come on, let’s go, and they stopped again. I heard whimpering and when I was looking for a duck,  I saw where the dog was. He was surrounded by ice.”

Chatten ran back to the dog park and yelled to a woman who was frantic and told him to call 911.

“I said, ‘We don’t have time for 911. This little dog isn’t gonna last long.’”

Without hesistation, Chatten took off his flannel, handed the woman his cell phone and got in the water. He tried to crawl on the ice, but the ice gave way.

“I fell through and thought well, the only way I’m gonna get through to this dog is to break the ice, so I pounded it with my forearm and got the dog, pulled him out, and started working my way back to the woman who came up to help. I handed the dog to her and got out. There was a bunch of people there calling me a hero. I said I’m not really a hero, if it wasn’t for my dog, I would have never heard the faint whimper.”

Jackson, as Chatten learned was the dog’s name, was reunited with his owner who was advised to take his pup to the vet. The owner was in shock as can be imagined, but very grateful to the man who saved his dog. Chatten tried calling the vet around the corner to see if Jackson was OK, but due to privacy, the vet wasn’t allowed to divulge that information.

”I’m just curious to see how the dog did. I think he is OK, I don’t think he was in there that long,” he said.

Chatten said he doesn’t want any recognition for what he did and says he was just at the right place at the right time. He rewarded his dogs with two big bones when they got home.

Share this story if you believe this man and his dogs are heroes. ❤️

Photos by Samantha and Harley Kelly. Samantha was walking with her 12-year-old Golden Retriever and was extremely moved when she witnessed Chatten’s heroism. Thank you, Samantha.

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