FRANKFORT — Dogs, like people, can get restless under stay-at-home orders. When Hugo, a 50-pound mixed breed broke free, the getaway became a dangerous adventure.
During the weeks of shelter-at-home, Hugo had been 12-year-old Owen’s only companion.
Hugo, Owen and the boy’s mother Elizabeth Laidlaw had come to Frankfort from Chicago to look after older relatives.
Laidlaw founded Frankfort’s Lakeside Shakespeare Theatre and is a familiar presence in the town.
Thursday afternoon Hugo slipped his leash to create his own drama along Frankfort beach.
The dog took a dip in Lake Michigan, but choppy waters and strong lake currents swept him out a half-mile from shore. Luckily for Hugo, Mitch Hanmer was nearby.
“I just got back from a run,” Hanmer said. “I heard yelling and hollering down at the beach.”
He ran to the scene where Owen and his mother pointed out Hugo’s predicament.
Hanmer, an event sales manager for Michigan Sports Academy in Grand Rapids, ran from the beach the three blocks to his grandfather’s house where he and girlfriend Maggie Goebel were staying. He grabbed his paddleboard while Goebel grabbed his wetsuit and life jacket.
“He was ready to go,” Goebel said. “He’s pretty selfless.”
Hanmer has spent time in Frankfort throughout his life and knows the ways of the big lake. He jumped into the 38-degree water with Hugo’s leash in hand.
Goebel ran along shore pointing out the dog’s location to Hanmer, who could not