‘He just kept going’ - Smithy the dog goes for a swim... and ends up being rescued by RNLI lifeboat
17:54 02 July 2014
Archant Norfolk © 2014
He looks like butter wouldn’t melt... but this rescue Staffie caused riverside drama on Wednesday when he went off on an aquatic adventure.
Smithy, a Staffordshire bull terrier cross who is currently being looked after by the Safe Rescue Dogs charity, was on a lunchtime walk in Cobholm with foster carer Kelly Hare when a quick dip in the River Yare turned into a full scale rescue.
The pooch, believed to be seven or eight years old, was on a long training lead when he went to greet a fisherman on the riverbank, then unexpectedly waded into the water for a swim.
He was clearly enjoying himself, going around in circles when he suddenly veered right - and kept on swimming. Smithy swam all the way from Breydon Bridge to Haven Bridge, until he was pulled from the water, exhausted, by Great Yarmouth and Gorleston’s RNLI’s inshore lifeboat.
“If we had been on the beach, he’d probably be in France by now,” said 38-year-old Kelly, who is now hoping Smithy’s escapades will help him find a forever home.
“We’re laughing about it now but it was not funny at the time. I was terrified.
“I’m so thankful to everyone who helped. When they carried a soggy Smithy up the steps and handed him back to me, I had to fight the urge to give the lifeboatman the biggest hug.”
Smithy, who was rescued once before when the national dog charity took him from a pound in Essex just hours before he was due to be put down, seems unfazed by his watery ordeal and within a few hours of being rescued was back at his foster home in Cobholm.
“We’ve been working up to letting him off and were just on our lunchtime walk,” said Kelly, replaying what happened on Wednesday afternoon.
“He was on a long training lead when he went down to the riverbank to see a fisherman.
“He had a good fuss, then suddenly got in the water and started swimming.
“When I called him, he turned around and looked at me but he kept on going.
“I couldn’t reach him because I had the two other dogs with me and it was sinking sand. I followed him along the river’s edge but he didn’t stop and the bank was getting higher and higher.”
The lifeboat launched at 2pm after Kelly called 999 and asked for the Coastguard.
By the time the dog reached Haven Bridge a group of passers-by had thrown a buoy into the water. And Smithy was so tired he grabbed onto it and, after 20 minutes of being in the river, was plucked to safety by the lifeboatmen.
Back at Kelly’s feet, Smithy shook himself dry and wagged his tail.
“He’s completely fine,” said his surrogate mum.
“I would like to offer a huge thank you to every one who helped in Smithy’s dramatic rescue. I was shaking like a leaf and terrified and they were awesome.” If you can offer Smithy a home, contact Kelly via the Safe Rescue Dogs page on Facebook.