Daring rescue of a dog trapped in a frozen Northumberland river

Hardy clings desperately to the edge of the ice.Hardy clings desperately to the edge of the ice.
Hardy clings desperately to the edge of the ice.
A brave RSPCA inspector braved a freezing Northumberland river to rescue a dog trapped in the ice.

Jaqui Miller slowly inched across the frozen River Wansbeck on her front to reach nine-year-old Labrador Hardy and haul him out of the water.

The daring rescue last December was caught on camera by Channel 5’s Dog Rescuers and the story will unfold in the show's Christmas special, which will air on Boxing Day.

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A soaking Hardy is out of the river.A soaking Hardy is out of the river.
A soaking Hardy is out of the river.

The RSPCA was called to Black Close Bank in Ashington, by Northumberland Fire and Rescue on Wednesday December 13 last year, to reports that a dog was trapped in the ice.

Inspector Miller said: “We were really worried about poor Hardy as he had been stuck in the ice for about an hour in the freezing cold water.

“He had been out walking with his dog walker when he had 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.”

Firefighters securely attached Insp Miller to a rope so they could easily pull her back in. She worked her way across the icy river, sliding on her front to Hardy’s rescue, using a pick to pull herself along.

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Hardy was quite far from the bank and was half submerged in the frozen water with his paws clinging desperately to the edge of the ice.

“I made sure I was securely fastened to my swift water rescue kit 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," she said.

"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 as soon as he could.

“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.

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“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 Insp Miller towel dried Hardy and gave him some much-needed attention once he was rescued.

Insp Miller continued: “When you get to be involved in a successful rescue, it makes you remember this is why we do the job. It give you that good, fuzzy feeling, you know you did something good that day.

"It’s a great feeling to be able to have saved Hardy and return him to his owner, just in time for Christmas.

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"His owner Louise said it would have been a horrible Christmas without him but the best Christmas ever once he was rescued.”

You can watch Hardy's resuce on The Dog Rescuers’ Christmas special , on Channel 5 on Boxing Day at 8pm.