Dogs and delivery people aren’t usually known to get along well. We’ve all seen our pets shout at the mailman thinking he’s a trespasser or chase after a FedEx truck down the street.
But despite that stereotype, oftentimes pets and delivery men will get along great. Many mail carriers actually love dogs and care for the ones they see along their routes.
But one UPS driver really went above and beyond, stopping his deliveries to save a dog drowning in icy cold waters.
Ryan Arens is a UPS driver from Bozeman, Montana. But while he was on the job last December shortly before Christmas, Ryan made an unforgettable delivery that wasn’t on his schedule.
Driving past an icy pond to deliver a package, Ryan heard the frantic screaming of a dog.
“This dog was screaming and crying and going crazy,” he told the Great Falls Tribune. “I could see the dog trapped about 10-15 feet off of shore, with ice all around it.”
He stopped what he was doing and went to save the poor animal. “I know I had to get her. Help wasn’t going to make it.”
Ryan arrived on the scene and found an older man unsuccessfully trying to reach the dog with a rowboat. He decided to use the boat to get onto the ice.
“I slid the boat out onto the ice, using it to distribute my weight,” Ryan said. “I shimmed out to where the ice was thin.”
But he crashed through the ice into the freezing water, and decided to just swim for the dog instead.
The rescue was successful, and not a moment too soon: “She was starting to go under,” he told the Great Falls Tribune.
“I didn’t think—I just knew what I had to do,” Ryan told PETA. “The veterinarian said that 2 degrees colder and Sadie would have gone into cardiac arrest. The timing was perfect.”
He took the dog back to the rowboat man’s house, where Ryan and the dog warmed up with a hot shower.
Ryan was quickly hailed as a hero when the story broke. PETA honored him with a Compassionate Action Award for his bravery.
But Ryan didn’t see himself as a hero… just an animal lover doing what anyone would do in his shoes.
“I personally feel that a majority of my coworkers and people that I surround myself with would have done the same thing I did if the situation presented itself to them,” he wrote on Facebook. “I am glad I did what I did no matter the danger.”
Ryan loves dogs—he owns a 15-year-old Malamute, so he was glad to help a dog in need. “Animals are my weakness,” he told Great Falls Tribune. “It was the highlight of my 14-year UPS career.”
He also got to reunite with the dog he saved, who is named Sadie. He was glad to see she was doing okay and still full of life.
“This dog had a whole lot of life left in her, and I’m really glad I was able to act when I did,” Ryan said. “She’s a sweetheart.”