Dog dramatically rescued 300 metres from shore in Portsmouth Harbour
AN adventurous swimming dog bit off more than he could chew before needing to be fished out of choppy waters in the harbour 300 metres from shore at the weekend by quick-thinking rescuers.
The disorientated ‘tired’ and ‘freezing cold’ golden retriever was seen swimming away from land after entering the sea at WicorMarine Yacht Haven, Portchester, on Saturday.
But nearby houseboat residents, who are experienced at rallying in dramatic rescue operations over the years, feared the dog ‘would not have made it back’.
Once horrified locals spotted the struggling canine in the sea at around 11.30am a dinghy was plunged into the water by one member of the community before live-aboard neighbours Ed Goodall and Daniel Radcliffe began paddling frantically to the rescue.
Their mission was made harder by them ‘not having proper oars’ - being forced to use a kayak paddle before venturing into the wind and against the tide.
Ed, 31, who was moving house when the incident happened, said: ‘We saw a dog in the water about 100 metres from shore and thought “this isn’t right”. It was cold, windy and the water was very choppy.
‘The owners were whistling at the dog but because it was so windy he couldn’t hear them and was getting further out to sea.
‘A neighbour quickly got a dinghy before me and Dan got in and started paddling.’
After finally getting close to the pooch, having tirelessly fought through large waves around 300 metres from the shore, Ed and Dan were dealt a number of blows as the rescuers were left chasing the dog’s tail after it repeatedly escaped their clutches.
And disaster nearly struck when the boat narrowly avoided capsizing when the rescuers tried to grab the dog.
‘We were struggling to catch him - he would get away when we got near,’ Ed said. ‘The boat almost tipped over when we tried to get hold of him on one occasion. Lots of water poured onto the boat.’
But finally the dog was pulled aboard the dinghy. ‘When we caught him the poor dog was so tired and was freezing cold. He was making lots of noise and had been drinking salt water,’ Ed said.
‘There’s no way he would have made it back to shore. On another day it could have been a sad story. It would have been dangerous for us if we had fallen in the water when the boat nearly tipped.’
Back on shore, following the 20-minute rescue operation, a concerned crowd had gathered before welcoming the heroes back with the retriever.
Ed said: ‘We received a round of applause. The dog’s owners were very grateful and a bit embarrassed. We were just happy to have saved the dog.
‘A vet nurse lives on one of the houseboats and checked him over while others put towels around the dog and gave him treats. He was very happy to see his owners and be back on land.’
Ed added: ‘There is a fantastic community down there. Over the years lots of people have been helped out of sticky situations after getting into difficulties at sea, though I’ve never had to save a dog before.
‘It was an interesting way to move house but I’m glad I was able to say goodbye in such a way.’
Ed’s partner Amy Denny, who was involved in the rescue operation from shore after seeing the dog, said: ‘This (rescue operations) has happened many times over the years.’