Woman, dog rescued from Lake Michigan
Dog jumped in, owner pushed passer-by aside to save pet

May 5, 2009

Moxie alone wasn’t enough to overcome the frigid chop of Lake Michigan Tuesday morning.

So, a fully clothed Jess Craigie leaped off the jetty at the North Avenue Beach to rescue the mutt she’d plucked two years earlier off the streets of Belize.

“It was freezing,” Craigie, 34, explained of her 20-minute immersion in the the water with dog Moxie. “I’ve not been that cold in my life.”

Thanks to a quick-thinking passerby and a team from the Chicago police marine unit, Craigie and Moxie endured nothing more than a nasty chill.

Tuesday morning, Craigie, a biologist, was out walking her two dogs. She let Moxie off the leash, and before she knew it, the dog took off after a sea gull.

“She loves to chase the birds,” Craigie said.

But apparently, Moxie wasn’t looking where she was going. The dog chased the gull right off the edge of the pier and into the lake.

And it turns out Moxie isn’t very good at the dog paddle.

“I knew the water was going to be cold, and I also knew she was going to drown if I didn’t try to save her,” Craigie said.

Craigie yelled out for help to a man sitting on the pier, and he called 911. The man also tried to dissuade Craigie from jumping in, but she would hear none of it.

She jumped in without removing her shoes.

A panicked Moxie made her way to Craigie, who was clinging onto a metal pipe sticking out from the jetty.

“She stood on my shoulders and a I got a few solid scratches just because she was pretty panicky,” Craigie said.

A few minutes later, three Chicago police marine officers -- Edmund Echevarria, Richard Sakalas and Jacky Hayes - plucked both Craigie and Moxie out of the water.

Craigie was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where she was treated for hypothermia and released.

Craigie said she’s “very grateful” for the rescue, but was quick to say she’d jump in again in a heartbeat.

“That probably disappoints a lot of people, but I love my dogs,” Craigie said. “They would have done the same for me.”


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