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8-year-old’s quick action helps save mom and dog after ice gives way

AURORA, Ill. --  An 8-year-old helped save his mother – and the family dog – after they fell into an ice-cold retention lake behind their home in Aurora, Illinois, on Sunday.

Cathy Medernach and her son Caden took their dog Baily out for a walk by the lake behind their home around noon, according to WGN-TV. As they walked, Baily spotted some ducks on the lake and ran after them -- falling through the thin ice and into the cold waters below.

Medernach rushed to save her dog, grabbing a canoe and heading out into the lake. She said she took just one swing of the paddle before she hit ice in the lake and tipped over, falling into the water.

"Life was passing before my eyes, I was thinking, 'I'm going to die in this water, as well as my dog," Medernach said.

She held on to the canoe but was waist-deep in the water. She managed to get back inside, as her son Caden was inside calling his father. Caden asked how long it was going to be until he came home.

"He was just like, 'well bud, be home in a little bit,' and [Caden] said, 'Well, I think you should come home now cause mom and Baily are in the lake and I don't know how to get them out," Medernach said.

Caden's father told him to hang up and call 911. Police and emergency workers responded, and were able to check to make sure Medernach was in good condition while rescuing the dog out of the lake. Medernach said she's proud of her son for acting so calm in such a chaotic situation.

On Monday, Cathy and the 11-year-old retriever Baily stayed inside, warm and relaxed, after a trying Sunday afternoon.