A plucky pup was hailed a ‘real life Lassie ‘ today – after saving her doggy dad from drowning after he plunged into a frozen lake during a walk.
River, a seven-month-old cocker spaniel, ran towards dog walker Sharon Skinner then in the direction of the lake like the character from the 1950s classic kids TV series.
Sharon then followed River to the frozen fishing lake in Wakefield, West Yorks., where the pooch’s dad Bruce had fallen on Wednesday, December 14.
He’d ran off as Sharon was putting both dogs into her car after taking them for a walk and she didn’t realise he was in danger until she was alerted by River.
Sharon immediately called the fire service, who rescued broke through the ice to rescue Bruce and praised both River and Sharon for their actions.
Sharon said: “Bruce is usually well behaved, and loves getting into the car at the end of a walk, so when I turned around in the car park and he was gone I couldn’t believe it.
“I called out for him but couldn’t hear anything – it was his daughter River that alerted me to something being wrong.
“She was running towards me and then off towards the lake, wanting me to follow.
“She was clearly worried and so I got her into the car and then went to investigate.
“Bruce isn’t a fan of water, normally he would just have a paddle, so when I saw him on the island in the middle of the lake, I couldn’t believe my eyes.
“He was distressed, but there was no way I could get into the water to help him, so I called the fire brigade.
“I’d seen in the paper and on TV how they have helped save pets, so I knew they were the best people to call.”
Fire crews were able to break the ice and get an inflatable sled through the water to rescue Bruce and move him to safety.
Sharon added: “The rescue team were amazing.
“I was in such a panic I wasn’t functioning properly and couldn’t tell them where I was.
“They found me and were very quick rescuing Bruce.
“He can be unsure about going to strangers, and he was so worried that he started to get back into the water.
“However, they grabbed him and gave him a warm cuddle as they brought him back – I think he was just as relieved as me.
“I’ve been a professional dog walker for five years and this is the first big incident I’ve had – and I’ve got a soft spot for Bruce as he’s a very loving dog.
“I’ve been walking Bruce for his family for a long time now, and his daughter River is my dog.
“A big thank you to the fire crew that saved Bruce.
“Every dog is special, but River showed just how much she loves her dad when she pointed me in the right direction.”
Fire station manager Richard Hawley praised Sharon for ringing the fire service instead of going in herself to rescue Bruce and potentially putting herself at risk.
He said: “The dog walker had been thinking of going into the water to rescue Bruce, but thankfully she called us instead.
“It was positive to hear from her that our warnings about being careful around icy water are having an impact.
“Dog walkers should always make sure that if their pet gets into trouble, they contact us straight away.
“We were able to break the ice and get the inflatable sled through the water to rescue Bruce and get him to safety.
“However, if someone had gone into the freezing water to try and rescue him, we could have been dealing with a very different story today.”