The average bystander might be reluctant to plunge into icy waters in order to save two distressed canines, but thankfully, Timofey Yuriev happened to be in the right place at the right time.
In addition to spending time in Canada, Yuriev grew up in Siberia – so needless to say, he is accustomed to the cold.
Additionally, the 45-year-old is an experienced swimmer and free diver.
His unique skillset then came in handy earlier this week when he and his wife were walking their dog Kira around the Irvington Reservoir in New York.
Upon investigating the nearby cries of a frantic woman, Yuriev found that her two Labradors had run onto the surface of the frozen water and fallen through the ice.
“We heard a woman screaming,” Yuriev told CBS2. “The first [dog] fell in and then the second fell in. They tried to climb out but the ice was breaking and they couldn’t and after a little while they just stopped moving.”
Knowing that emergency responders would not respond in time, Yuriev immediately took off his clothes and started practicing the breathing techniques that his Russian grandfather taught him to prepare for the cold. The woman tried to keep him from going into the water, but he insisted on taking the plunge.
Yuriev then waded into the reservoir with Kira at his heels. Using his elbows to break through the frozen waters, he forged a path through the ice until he reached the first dog. Kira, meanwhile, made her way behind the distressed dog and coaxed it into following her owner. Kira and Yuriev then did the same thing with the second dog until both pups were in the arms of their tearful owner.
Yuriev credits his rescue operation’s success to his time spent in Russia. He jokingly explained his Siberian upbringing to The Journal News by saying: “We have only two seasons — big winter and small winter. But we had to have fun somehow, so a lot of us were used to cold water.”
That being said, Yuriev added that he is delighted his skillset could come in handy under such conditions – and he would be happy to do it all over again if he had to.
(WATCH the video below or our international viewers can watch it on the CBS News website) – Photo by Melissa Kho
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