It always warms our hearts to watch a dog rescued from dire circumstances…. and circumstances don’t get much more dire than this. A dog that must have been bounding around on a frozen river, enjoying a winter wonderland, suddenly falls through the ice and gets trapped in icy water with no way out.

Does his owner stare helplessly, knowing that if he tries to save his pup he might well fall into the same trap? Or does he run for help? Nope. This absolute HERO jumps in and literally pounds through the ice, breaking and smashing his way to his dog. It’s even more impressive when you see that he’s shirtless, and the near-frozen water must be chilling him to the core.

But nothing will keep this guy from his pooch.  When he finally gets to him, our hero grabs him and carries him back to safety. And, we’ll admit it, we let out a cheer when the video ended.

Animal rescue stories have a way of restoring our faith in humanity, and there are many stories of people sacrificing their own safety for the sake of a pet, or even a stray who was in trouble. Animal Planet has compiled this must-watch list of the 10 best animal rescues they’ve come across, and it’s a pretty epic compilation that includes:

  • A 1,200-pound pregnant horse trapped under the ice in a frozen pond.
  • A drowning chimp saved from death by a total stranger at the zoo, risking his own life to bring the monkey to safety.
  • A 4-ton elephant rescued after accidentally falling into a moat.
  • A baby rhino who had his leg maimed in a trap and needed life-saving attention.
  • A black bear who gets electrocuted while looking for her cub and falls 30 feet to the ground.

Watch the rest of the amazing rescue videos, and see how they compare to this man who smashed his way through a frozen river to save his best friend.