GREAT FALLS – A dog named after the main character in an ancient, heroic epic poem appears to have started his own legend.
The 5-year-old German shepherd named Beowulf fell through ice while chasing birds. By the time he was pulled out by passer-by Tim Wilkinson, the dog appeared all but dead.
It’s unclear how long Beowulf was in the pond March 7 at the Spring Tree subdivision south of Great Falls. Wilkinson spotted what he at first thought was a garbage bag on the ice until it moved.
“He was just hanging on,” Wilkinson said.
Wilkinson used a two-by-four from his truck to smash the ice so Beowulf could move toward the dock. But Beowulf couldn’t pull himself out and Wilkinson couldn’t lift the 120-pound dog. So Wilkinson smashed more ice until he could drag Beowulf to shore.
Wilkinson called the phone number on Beowulf’s collar, reaching owner James Mitchell, who called family friend Tom Martin. Martin rushed to the pond and took Beowulf to Best Friends Animal Hospital.
Veterinarians hooked up IVs and put warm water bottles next to Beowulf. Tammy Mitchell said it took an hour before Beowulf responded.
Beowulf is now back greeting customers at the Mitchells’ Great Falls gun shop.