Rescuers emerge from frozen river to save dog

Image copyright Jane Haydock

What happens when police officers are invited to help rescue a lost dog left in the snow near a riverside?

That’s the question two officers from Gloucestershire were faced with last week when they received a request from a local gynaecologist to look after an animal left in a sheep’s ewe’s enclosure when it got lost in the wintry conditions in spring, close to the River Wye in Didcot, near Oxford.

But their rescue attempt proved a little more complex than initially expected.

‘Strangely wet’

“The man [who lives on the land] made an immediate emergency call and I’m not sure if it was before or after we arrived, but the dog was indeed stuck on the clifftop,” said PCSOs Dave and Noel.

This dog was welling up with a cold

After a four hour search, they discovered the dog, in a thick, dark riverbank and pushed her into safety, along with two other dogs, who were reluctant to enter the cold water.

“We were told that there was nothing on the property to help the dog,” PCSO Dave told BBC Radio 5 live.

“A dog walker suggested she might have been left there after being born, and that she may have got stranded.

“We went up the hill and there was only five feet of the riverbank, so we pushed the dog into the water and put her in the dry part of the riverbank, and that worked really well, because she was welling up with a cold.”

It is one of very few dogs known to have survived in the freezing cold riverbank

They immediately returned to the countryside to look for the owner, but sadly to no avail.

“We called the dog’s owner straight away and we were told it had died of hypothermia, but I don’t know if that’s true or not,” said PCSO Noel.

The owners were reunited with their dog on Saturday evening.

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