DAVE the dog has been hailed a hero for his life-saving actions that helped to stop three women from drowning.
A mum, daughter and niece were reunited with the black labrador and the father and son who saved their lives in a dramatic rescue mission.
What should have been a dream trip to south-east Hayling beach turned into a nightmare when two teenage cousins found themselves being dragged out to sea.
As Nicola Godliman rushed to save her 14-year-old daughter Poppy and 19-year-old niece Kiera Kerr, at the estuary of Langstone Harbour, she too began to drown.
Panicked and unable to keep their heads above the water between Portsmouth and Hayling Island, 42-year-old Nicola thought she and her family would die.
That was until 50-year-old Guy Jenner dashed into the sea with his son Tom, 13, and six-year-old rescue dog Dave.
The trio fought with ‘everything they had’ to save the women, and now an emotional Nicola and her family have branded them ‘heroes’ to whom they owe their lives.
Nicola said: ‘I thought our time was up. That was it, I thought we were going to die.
‘Kiera wasn’t panicking as much because she knew it would help to turn on her back and float, but Poppy was in terrible trouble.
‘She was being dragged underwater and kept screaming, “Mum! Mum! Help me!” But I just wasn’t strong enough to do it.
‘In my attempts to save her I was being pulled underwater myself. We were both losing energy and I was becoming light headed.’
The incident happened at about 4pm on Tuesday.
Guy was walking along the beach with Tom, Dave, wife Nic, and four pooches he looks after as part of his Guy’s Dog Day Care business.
Realising something wasn’t right, the father and son entered the sea with the dogs.
Fourteen-year-old Poppy Standen, who attends Springfield School, said: ‘One minute we could touch the floor, then all of a sudden we couldn’t.
‘Kiera and I were trying our best to swim to shore but we were getting dragged backwards instead.
‘I was screaming and choking on water, it was horrible.
‘I thought I was going to die and it was worse because I could see mum struggling too.
‘It was Guy who saved my life and I owe him everything.’
As the reality of the situation became clear Guy ordered the dogs in his care to shore and swam out with Tom and Dave to save the family.
Guy, from Hayling Island, said: ‘Tom rescued Kiera with a little help from one of the other dogs, Baxter, near the shore.
‘Tom then came back to help me so I was able to hand Nicola to him and Dave, who were fantastic and swam her all the way back to the beach.
‘Then it was Poppy I had to save. I’m 6ft 3in and even my feet were being swept away.
‘I honestly had to use every single ounce of strength to save her and if I’d have reached her even 20 seconds later, she would have died.
‘Dave’s our little hero.
‘I’m proud of Tom, too, who jumped in no questions asked.
‘The waters at Hayling and Langstone are very dangerous and I think there should be more warning signs.
‘I’d do it all again.’
By the time Nicola, Poppy and Kiera had calmed down, the Jenner family had left the beach.
But wanting to praise their heroes, Nicola tracked them down and was reunited with them yesterday.
Nicola added: ‘We owe our lives to Guy, Tom and Dave and as the saying goes – not all heroes wear capes. I’ll never be able to thank them enough. We’re going to stay friends, and go on dog walks together.’