A father died after falling through an icy pond while saving his family’s stranded puppy.
William Tuttle, 45, crawled across the frozen surface in Fountain, Colorado after fearing Brock was drowning.
But, just as he reached the dog, the ice gave way and the father-of-two plunged into the freezing water.
He had just enough time to throw the animal to the shore but rescuers took 90 minutes to get Mr Tuttle back on to dry land.
The victim, who had been walking alone with the dog, was rushed by ambulance to Memorial Hospital but died a short time later.
His distraught daughter Megan, 19, said her only comfort is that her father’s last words were to tell her he loved her.
‘I told him I love him too,’ she told KRDO News 13. ‘It’s so hard. He’s not here anymore. He was such a great man.
‘You would never see him without a smile on his face. He was always so happy. He would help anybody out if they needed it.’
His son Taylor, 16, said he was proud his father, adding: ‘He’s my angel right now. He is. It wasn’t stupid. He did what he had to do.’
It is not known whether Brock was let off his leash or simply slipped out of Mr Tuttle’s before dashing on to the thin ice.
The father’s first instinct was to save the animal, who had only been brought into the nearby family home three weeks ago.
Casey O’Malley, who was fishing at the Willow Springs Pond, told KKTV 11 News: ‘He got down on his hands and knees, and then walked out towards and to the dog.
‘At that point the owner did fall through the ice. He and the dog struggled for a second. The owner was able to get the dog up onto the ice.’
A woman who was close found a stick and tried to pull Mr Tuttle from the freezing water but was unable to free him as he frantically splashed about.
The alarm was raised and rescuers from the Fountain Fire Department eventually reached the victim and pulled him out.
Luckily a crew, who had already alerted about children on the ice, were half way to the pond when the 911 call was made, Fountain Fire Chief Darrin Anstine revealed.
But they were too late to save him.
Taylor says he is now concentrating on finishing high school and making his father proud when he graduates.