Lucky escape for Portsmouth pooch caught in harbour drama

Josh in the D-Class Lifeboat cradling Minnie Mouse to keep her warm Picture: RNLI
Josh in the D-Class Lifeboat cradling Minnie Mouse to keep her warm Picture: RNLI

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IS THIS the luckiest dog in Portsmouth?

Volunteers from the city’s lifeboat base certainly think so.

The struggling Brussels Griffon called Minnie Mouse was saved from a mudbank in Langstone Harbour minutes before the tide engulfed the area.

The tiny dog had been missing for a day when she was spotted trapped in soft mud on Monday afternoon with the tide rapidly rising.

RNLI Portsmouth’s D-Class lifeboat Brian’s Pride was launched and the crew managed to save the pet just moments before the mudbank was washed away by freezing water.

Lifeboat spokesman Aaron Gent said: ‘It was incredibly lucky she was spotted – I honestly don’t know how someone saw her.

‘She is only about 12 inches long and eight inches tall.

‘She really is tiny. She is very lucky to be alive.’

The terrier-like pup was spotted by two walkers, who alerted Southsea marina of the dog’s plight.

Unable to help the stranded pet, marina security staff used their CCTV to pinpoint Minnie Mouse and called Solent Coastguard, which scrambled the RNLI rescuers to save the distressed dog.

Helmsman Neil Maxwell guided their boat to the island while volunteer crewman Joshua Bowe risked his own safety wading into the harbour to save the pet.

‘Josh had thick mud coming up to his shins and fell to his knees to reach the dog,’ added Aaron.

‘He was bitten by her as he tried to grab her. She was very frightened and was shaking.’

The shivering pup was rushed back to the RNLI’s base for a warm shower while crews contacted the lucky dog’s owner.

Aaron said: ‘When we got back to the base we went to the window to see where this island was – it was completely gone.

‘It must have been submerged one minute – maybe two – after we saved the dog. You really couldn’t write it. It was incredibly lucky.’

Minnie Mouse has since been returned to its owner, who told crews she was forever in their debt for saving her beloved pet.

‘She was really happy to have her dog back,’ said Aaron.

‘The owner did say she would pop down again with cakes later this week.’