Lifestyle & Human Interest

Dog Notices Something in the Water, Immediately Alerts Bystanders as to What's Going On


A woman and her husband were taking their dog for an evening walk Saturday near the Millennium Bridge in Gosport, United Kingdom.

It was dark out, and as they crossed the bridge, their black cockapoo, Poppy, started barking like mad.

The woman, who asked to remain anonymous, later told BBC that the dog “just suddenly started barking, when she stopped I could hear somebody shouting for help so I called the coast guard.”

The husband had a flashlight with him, but even as they scanned the water below, they couldn’t see anyone. The woman called 99, the British emergency number.

As the coast guard responded, it asked that the couple keep looking.

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“They asked us to keep the torch shining and they went out looking for him,” the woman said.

First responders got the call around 8 p.m., and several departments arrived to help. The marine police unit, the coast guard rescue team and the independent lifeboat service Gosport and Fareham Inshore Lifeboat Service all showed up to aid the search.

What they found was a man in his 50s clinging to a post in the water. He was pulled up into the boat and treated for hypothermia.

Apparently, the man had fallen from a small transport boat earlier that evening near Royal Clarence Marina in Gosport.

The bad weather and strong tide had then swept him 985 feet to the Millennium Bridge — but it was a good thing they did, and a good thing he found a place to hang on, because Poppy was able to sense him.

James Baggott, a coxswain with GAFIRS, said the man easily could have perished given the conditions.

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“He was incredibly lucky,” Baggott said, according to BBC. “Being in the water for 30 minutes at this time of year, in a storm force gale with the sea temperature as it is, he was very lucky to survive.

“He was swept away from the tender and left clinging to the pile — if the dog walker hadn’t raised the alarm the consequences could have been very different.”

Poppy’s owners were happy to hear that all ended well.

“We were just so relieved to hear he had been rescued,” the woman said. “It was just fortunate that we were there at that time — how frightened he must have been.”

She also said that Poppy has been spoiled with plenty of dog treats and even has a new nickname: “We’ve started calling her Lassie!”

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