Men Rescue Dog Frozen in St. Jerome's Creek

Ray Raley and one of his retrievers in July of 2012.
Ray Raley and one of his retrievers in July of 2012.

HOLLYWOOD, Md. (January 18, 2018)—Ray Raley, a Ridge resident whose home sits astride St. Jerome's Creek, is the owner of three prized black Labrador retrievers. During the bitter cold that gripped the county in recent weeks, he nearly lost one of them to icy waters.

With the help of Mike Henderson, the owner of Buzz's Marina that sits just behind his home, he was able to extricate Ripken from the frozen waters of the creek where somehow the animal had gotten stuck in the ice.

The two men had to race against time, and deal with Henderson's recently fractured right arm to pull the dog from the ice.

It started when Raley noticed that Ripken, a competitive sporting dog, was nowhere to be found, especially since he was about to feed his canines.

"That's not like him to be gone for so long, especially when there's food around," Raley said. "I really started to get worried."

Raley's neighbor, Henderson, said he had gone down to the wharf at his marina to check on boats when he heard a noise of an animal in distress; he began to look around and found that it was Ripken stuck in the ice.

What was worse, the sun was going down and the temperature continued to drop.

"All I saw was two glowing eyes looking at me," Henderson told The County Times.

The two men quickly scrounged a boat, got on board and had to break ice to get over to the trapped Ripken.

They were an unlikely pair. Henderson had taken his arm brace off despite a previous fracture to his right arm and Raley had had a heart attack six months before.

When the two men got to Ripken they tried to pull him out but he was in the ice too deep, they had to break the ice to try and free him.

Raley said Henderson had him hold his legs so he could lean out of the boat far enough to grab Ripken and pull him free at last.

"He risked his life to save my dog," Raley said.

Henderson said he got a boat to ensure Raley would not do something rash.

"I think he would have jumped in to save him," Henderson said of Raley.

Four members of the Ridge Volunteer Fire Department — Bruce and Lori Raley and Ray Mercure and his 15-year-old son Tyler Mercure — came to render aid to Ripken, Henderson said.

Now safe at home Ripken jumps up to greet strangers who come to the door and plays around with fellow retrievers Tyson and Maggie.

But his master is keeping a close eye on him.

"He's doing great," Raley said. "But he doesn't get to go outside without a leash anymore."

For more local stories from the County Times newspapers, visit or find a copy on local news stands.

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