Freddie was one of nine German Shepherd puppies born January 15, 2005. Mike Hambling was looking for a German Shepherd and something struck him about Freddie. Soon he became a part of the Hambling family and has since proven himself to be a loyal, incredibly friendly and loving animal, who would demonstrate his loyalty by saving Mike’s life.
In late January 2007, Mike and Freddie were out on their daily walk. When they reached the frozen channel near the Hambling cottage just outside Coldwater, Ontario, Freddie was skittish about crossing it, pulling on his lead and protesting. However at Mike’s insistence, he eventually gave in and they started across. As Mike’s wife Debbie watched helplessly from across the channel, the ice broke under Mike and he plunged into the freezing water. He attempted multiple times to pull himself out, but was repeatedly dragged back underwater. His wet clothes were weighing him down and he was starting to black out from the bitterly cold water. He began to lose focus and concentration, when suddenly he felt a strong tug on his wrist. Looking up, he realized he was still attached to Freddie by his lead. Encouraged by Debbie yelling across the channel to “PULL! PULL!” Freddie planted his feet on the ice and pulled with all his might until he was able to free Mike from the icy cold waters and pull him to shore. Debbie, situated across the channel about 80 feet away, was too far to come to Mike’s aid, and could have made the situation far worse by putting further pressure on the thin ice. All she could do was watch helplessly.
Drawn by Debbie’s yells, neighbour Don Ferguson rushed down to help Mike and Freddie to safety from the shoreline, and brought Mike indoors to his cottage to regain his body warmth and avoid hypothermia.
The Hamblings are completely indebted to Freddie for saving Mike’s life. Freddie enjoys lots of play time and long walks now that Mike is retired, and they keep each other company when Debbie goes to work. Playing tug-of-war is one of Freddie’s favourite games, which the Hamblings believe is the reason he understood how to pull Mike out of the water.
Both Debbie and Mike thank Freddie every day with a hug or treat for his brave action that ultimately saved Mike’s life.