Video shows dramatic rescue of a Labrador from ice


Footage [at the bottom of this page] shows one of our inspectors roped to firefighters as she crossed the ice to save the frightened dog trapped in a freezing river. 

Labrador stuck in ice on frozen river hanging on by his paws © RSPCA

Inspector Jaqui Miller was called to the River Wansbeck at Black Close Bank in Ashington, Northumberland on Wednesday 13 December, to reports that a dog was trapped in the ice

Northumberland Fire and Rescue Services requested help from us after the nearby rowing club had raised the alarm over the dog, who had been trapped for an hour.

Rescuing Hardy from the ice

Firefighters securely attached Jaqui to a rope so they could easily pull her back in. She worked her way across the icy river using a pick with a GoPro video camera capturing the rescue. Hardy was quite far from the bank and was half submerged in the frozen water with his paws clinging on to the edge of the ice.

Jaqui said:

We were really worried about poor Hardy as he'd been stuck in the ice for about an hour in the freezing cold water.

He'd been out walking with his dog walker when he'd run into the river not realising that the minus six degree weather we’ve had recently had frozen the water. His dog walker told us he’s so used to paddling in the river and the sea that he just bounded off hoping for a little swim.

I made sure I was securely fastened to the rope and started across the ice. As I got closer to Hardy I could hear him whimpering and I kept calling back to him to try and reassure the poor dog. I managed to grab him by his scruff and help Hardy push himself up onto the ice. He must have been freezing because he didn’t hang around but scampered off towards his dog walker.

The firefighters then tugged on the rope which was attached to me and pulled me back onto land where I could check Hardy over. He had a small cut on his paw and was pretty cold but apart from this he was absolutely fine.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to the fire services, without their assistance I wouldn’t have been able to rescue poor Hardy. They were brilliant in putting a contingency rescue plan in place – and it paid off as we brought Hardy to safety!

Firefighters, the dog walker and Jaqui towel dried Hardy and gave him some much needed attention once he was rescued.

Looking after your dog on winter walks

We advise owners to keep dogs away from frozen ponds, lakes or rivers which can pose a danger and make sure their paws do not get impacted with snow.

If your dog ventures onto the ice, never follow them onto it, instead call fire and rescue services for help.

Jaqui continued:

Owners should never try and risk rescuing their pet themselves as they could get themselves into a dangerous situation. As a trained water rescue officer with specialist equipment, I was able to make an assessment that it would be safe for me to reach Hardy.

Happy at home

Later that day, Jaqui visited the rescued pooch and his owner to check on Hardy.

She added:

He’s quite a strong dog whose been used to swimming in the north sea, so he seemed pretty unfazed by it all and was just happy to be home where he was even treated to a sausage or two!

Check out the rescue video

Animal rescue

Find out what we do with the animals we rescue and hear some of the rescue stories our inspectors have.

Help our Inspectors continue their amazing work

It takes time and money to train our Inspectors so they can rescue animals like Hardy. If you'd like to help us continue the amazing work they do, please donate what you can online or text LOVE to 87023 to give £3

(Text costs £3 + one standard network rate message. Text to donate terms and conditions).

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