A PET owner has thanked two strangers for saving his dog’s life – and possibly his too – after pulling them out of the ice-cold North Sea.
Dave Brannon got into difficulties after jumping into the sea to rescue his dog Boss at Tynemouth Long Sands on Saturday.
The 40-year-old was out for an afternoon walk with Boss by the village’s derelict outdoor pool when the Patterdale terrier leapt through some railings and fell several feet into the sea below.
Dave, of North Shields, watched as his seven-year-old pet started disappearing under the surface of the freezing-cold water, then, with barely a thought for his own safety, jumped in after his drowning pet.
The father of one said: “We had just got there and passed a man with a spaniel, and we nodded at each other as dog owners do.
“A couple of seconds later, Boss just bolted and ran towards the metal railings and jumped up and disappeared through the gap and into the water.
“He was drowning. He was just sinking.
“I looked over to see that the other guy was there and that he had seen me. Otherwise there would be nobody to tell my mam what I did.
“That’s when I made the decision to go after Boss.
“I jumped in and went under – it was absolutely freezing – then I pulled Boss from under the water.
“I had him under one arm. I had planned to swim backstroke to the beach, and I started swimming but thankfully the guy, who I only know as Dave, came with his dog’s lead.
“If he hadn’t been there, I don’t know what would have happened, certainly to Boss. I don’t know if I would have been able to swim one-handedly while holding on to him.
“By this time, the other guy had appeared, and they managed to pull me and Boss up over the railings.
“I wanted to thank them properly, but by the time I had gathered my thoughts, they had gone.
“I’ve had Boss since October, and we’ve been down here a few times and I’ve let him off the lead, but he’s never jumped in the sea before.
“I suspect it was the shock of the cold water that got him into trouble, and the sea was quite choppy that day.”
After their ordeal, Dave, a business development manager at HSS Training in Gateshead, and Boss went to a friend’s house in Tynemouth to dry off.
He added: “I’d just like to say thank you to them.
“I’m definitely convinced they saved Boss’s life. I’m a strong swimmer, but I’m not sure we both would have made it back to the beach.”