A peaceful riverside stroll turned into a nightmare for pensioner Elizabeth Jones when her dog pulled her into the water - then needed rescuing herself.
Lurcher Phoebe was already a rescue dog but, after Sunday’s ordeal, her owner of less than three months thinks she may have used up all her luck.
It was not the first time Mrs Jones had walked Phoebe by the river in Great Cornard after visiting her husband in Mellish House Care Home, but she says it will certainly be the last.
The 70-year-old, from Bury St Edmunds, was pulled into the river when Phoebe decided to jump in and was ‘up to [her] armpits in muddy water’ before she finally let go of the lead.
She said: “I couldn’t let her tow me along. It all happened so quickly, I couldn’t do anything. It was really scary.
“I hauled myself out from the bank and then whistled and called to her, to no avail.”
A passing boat heard Mrs Jones’ cries and quickly sprung into action, reversing to an area of marshland Phoebe had managed to ‘scramble’ on to before coaxing her aboard.
“It sounds silly, but we simply did our standard man overboard practice drill,” said quick-thinking rescuer Jim Lunn, who was leading a River Stour Trust boat trip with another crew mate when he saw Phoebe stranded.
“We had four passengers on board who thought it was very exciting to be involved in a rescue,” he added.
“If it hadn’t been for those good people I think she would have drowned,” said an ‘enormously grateful’ Mrs Jones. “I was standing there, helpless, watching her get weaker and weaker. I still can’t believe how I nearly lost her.”
“She was pretty frightened and exhausted, but she’s none the worse for it now,” she added.