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Pelham Police

Police in Pelham, N.H., went above and beyond the call of duty Monday morning to track down a dog on the run named Freckles.

The dramatic pursuit began shortly after 1:30 a.m., when police checked on a report of suspicious vehicles on Willow Street and learned that the motorists were out looking for their lost dog, according to Captain Stephen Toom.

The 3-year-old missing mutt was described as having a white coat with brown spots (thus his name) and he’d been on the lam for about an hour.

Officers joined in the search for Freckles, and around 2 a.m. a sergeant got a tip that Freckles had been spotted on the Willow Street bridge, Toom said.

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Police tried to approach Freckles, but the elusive pooch wasn’t ready to surrender. Instead Freckles took off into the woods and then fell through the ice in Beaver Brook. But that didn’t stop Freckles — he made it to the other side and continued to flee.

Police searched the area with a thermal imaging camera and found the runaway pup on the tip of a small island in Beaver Brook.

Officer Bruce Vieira crossed the ice and crawled on his hands and knees through thick brush to get closer to Freckles, and eventually cornered him. Vieira grabbed Freckles and took him into custody, according to Toom.

Police posted a detailed account of the incident on Facebook, and stated that Vieira and Freckles were making their way back to the shore when they came close to falling through the ice.

“As Vieira made it about halfway across, the ice began to crack at his feet,” police wrote. “Fortunately they made it across safely.”

Freckles was “wet, cold, and tired,” but otherwise was OK, and he was happily reunited with his owner at 3:08 a.m., according to police.

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Kacy Spangler, 26, of Pelham, said she was relieved when she saw the officers emerge from the woods with her dog, whom she just adopted on Saturday. She appreciated the officers’ dedication.

The officers “were soaking wet and covered in snow,” she said. “They were on a mission to find our dog.”

Spangler said the police found him just in time, too, because icicles had formed on his fur and his leash was frozen stiff.

“We were worried after we heard that he fell in,” the water, said Spangler. “We’re just thankful he’s OK....It was so cold.”

Spangler hopes Freckles won’t embark on another adventure like that one again, and said he appears to be getting accustomed to his new home.

“He’s walking around the house like he owns the place,” she said.

Toom praised the officers for their efforts in tracking down the cagey canine and making a successful rescue.

“Most people consider their dogs a part of the family,” said Toom.

Toom said the police were truly concerned about the dog’s safety, considering how cold it was outside and the fact that the dog was in the woods, where wildlife can pose a real threat to pets.

“I’m very proud of my officers for going above and beyond,” Toom said.


Emily Sweeney can be reached at esweeney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.