A nine-year-old labrador was rescued from a freezing river in Northumberland after becoming trapped in the icy water for over an hour.
Hardy was finally pulled to safety by an RSPCA inspector and the dramatic rescue was caught on camera.
Inspector Jaqui Miller was called to the River Wansbeck at Black Close Bank in Ashington on December 13.
Northumberland Fire and Rescue Services requested help from the RSPCA after the nearby rowing club had raised the alarm.
Firefighters securely attached Inspector Miller to a rope so they could easily pull her back in. The inspector worked her way across the icy river using a pick. Hardy was quite far from the bank and was half submerged in the frozen water with his paws clinging to the edge of the ice.
Inspector Miller said: “We were really worried about poor Hardy as he had been stuck in the ice for about an hour in the freezing cold water.
“He had been out walking with his dog walker when he had run into the river not realising that the minus six degree weather we’ve had recently had frozen the water. His dog walker told us he’s so used to paddling in the river and the sea that he just bounded off hoping for a little swim.
“I made sure I was securely fastened to the rope and started across the ice. As I got closer to Hardy I could hear him whimpering and I kept calling back to him to try and reassure the poor dog. I managed to grab him by his scruff and help Hardy push himself up onto the ice. He must have been freezing because he didn’t hang around but scampered off towards his dog walker.
“The firefighters then tugged on the rope which was attached to me and pulled me back onto land where I could check Hardy over. He had a small cut on his paw and was pretty cold but apart from this he was absolutely fine.
“I’d like to say a huge thank you to the fire services, without their assistance I wouldn’t have been able to rescue poor Hardy. They were brilliant in putting a contingency rescue plan in place - and it paid off as we brought Hardy to safety!”
Firefighters, the dog walker and Inspector Miller towel dried Hardy and gave him some much needed attention once he was rescued.
The RSPCA advises owners to keep dogs away from frozen ponds, lakes or rivers which can pose a danger and make sure their paws do not get impacted with snow. If your dog ventures onto the ice, never follow them onto it, instead call fire and rescue services for help.
Inspector Miller continued: “Owners should never try and risk rescuing their pet themselves as they could get themselves into a dangerous situation. As a trained water rescue officer with specialist equipment, I was able to make an assessment that it would be safe for me to reach Hardy.”
Later that day, Inspector Miller visited the rescued pooch and his owner to check on Hardy.
She added: “He’s quite a strong dog whose been used to swimming in the north sea, so he seemed pretty unfazed by it all and was just happy to be home where he was even treated to a sausage or two!”