A rescue dog afraid of the water has been pulled from a north-east river by hero paddleboarders.
Tracy Needham headed out to Deeside with pooch Bronson to enjoy the sun that has been bathing the region over the weekend.
However, the trip almost turned to tragedy when the staffy’s curiosity got the better of him and he slipped into the River Dee and began to be swept downstream.
‘I thought I was going to have to jump in’
Mrs Needham, from Peterhead, has owned Bronson for five years after picking him up from the Scottish SPCA rescue centre at Drumoak.
The staffy was badly abused when he was a puppy and was never taken out for walks or even allowed to see the sun.
As a result, the friendly pooch has never built his confidence with the water and has always been wary near rivers – despite bounding along on paths next to them.
And the fears of the dog were almost justified as he fell into the river at Milton of Crathes before the paddleboarders came to the rescue.
Mrs Needham said: “We were wandering around and I realised there’s a river nearby, and I know my boy loves a walk by a river.
“We went down and he got a bit close to the edge, and then I just heard an almighty plop and realised he had fallen in.
“I could see he was quite panicked and he was swimming backwards and forwards trying to get back out again but couldn’t.
“He’s never been great with water. He goes in and lets it come up around his legs, but he’s never swum before.
“I started taking off my socks because I thought I was going to have to lean over the bank to get him, or jump in and chuck him back up again.
“Then some paddleboarders shouted and said they would get him out. They were amazing, it really restores your faith in humanity.”
Dog was being swept downstream before rescue
Postman Pete Mitchell, from Westhill, was paddleboarding with his neighbour Christine Thorne from Banchory to Drumoak at the time of the rescue.
The duo had spotted a lot of dogs by the water during their afternoon on the water and did not initially think anything of Bronson getting close to the edge.
However, after he fell into the river, Mr Mitchell quickly realised he was in need of some help.
He said: “The river was running a bit fast and I could tell that he was beginning to go down the river a bit.
“I just heard Tracy shouting ‘He can’t swim’ and thought I better go over as quickly as I could to help. He had a harness on so I could just grab him.
“I could tell he had got a bit of a shock and he was a bit nervous on the board, but as soon as he was back on the bank he was brand new.”
After a quick shake to brush of the experience, Bronson and Mrs Needham resumed their weekend walk at Crathes Castle.
She said: “He was back to himself in no time. He’s the most spoilt boy.”