Drama as Pippin the cocker spaniel rescued from icy pond in Dereham
- Credit: IAN BURT
Summer Hollings gave her best friend Pippin an even bigger hug than usual, after watching in horror as the cocker spaniel fell in to a freezing pond.
The four-year-old, from Dereham, was out with her dad Scott, 27, and mum Marie, 36, and two-year-old Pippin for an afternoon of sledging on the mound at Hillcrest Avenue park in Toftwood on Saturday.
Pippin ran on to the ice-covered pond to grab bread which had been thrown on for the ducks.
But she fell through a hole and could not get out.
Scott, of Pavilion Way, went in to the pond above his waist and used wood to start smashing the ice.
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He was joined by Andy Kelly, 40, who was also out with his family. The duo worked frantically to help Pippin to be able to swim.
Summer, a pupil at Scarning Primary School, was crying hysterically on the side of the water, which made the two men even more determined to complete the rescue.
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A Dereham fire crew and the locally-based urban search and rescue team were called out but just before they arrived Pippin was pulled out.
Yesterday – 24 hours after the drama – Andy met up with the Hollings family after the EDP put them in touch.
After giving him a big hug, Marie told Andy: 'You are a hero. Thank you so much. There aren't many people who would go in a frozen pond for you.
'Pippin is Summer's best friend and is a real part of our family.'
Andy, of South Green, in Dereham, remained modest and said: 'I'm not a hero. I just broke some ice.'
Scott added that it was instinct to get in.
'I know you are not supposed to go in water but you just cannot stand there and watch your dog drown – especially when your daughter is behind you screaming.'
Pippin had been a few metres away from the side and had become increasingly tired and was yelping.
Scott, a motor mechanic with Busseys in Dereham, said she was normally very obedient but the temptation of the bread was too much, especially as she was on a diet.
Marie, who was on the side of the water with Summer, said: 'It was a real worry and we all went in to panic mode... It seemed like hours but was probably about 10 minutes.
'We stood there and just did not know what to do. Everyone was shouting that if we did not get her out she would die.'
Local people came out with towels, blankets and coats.
Marie, a night carer in Toftwood, said: 'I just want to say a big thank you to everyone who helped.'
She said Pippin had been 'a bit sheepish' when they got home but seemed fine yesterday.
Andy works for Jark, in Dereham, and was sledging with his wife, Tracey, and children Zac, 11, Ewan, seven, and four-year-old twins Lily and Daisy.
He said a child had walked on the ice shortly before Pippin went in and he had had to shout out a warning.
He said there should be a fence around the pond.
Saturday's incident came as police warned people of the dangers of walking or playing on frozen lakes and ponds as the cold weather continues.
PC Paul Bassham, of the Broads beat team, said: 'In previous cold weather spells we have dealt with calls concerning youngsters playing on frozen ponds.
'While the ice may appear to be thick in places, it will be thinner in others and people should never assume that it will be strong enough to hold their weight.
'If the ice breaks the water underneath will be extremely cold and there's no telling how deep it will be. We would advise that people never venture onto the frozen water, both for their safety and the safety of others.'
If you see anyone in distress on the water you should ring 999.