A trapped dog whose owner was pulled from a sinking car in the Akatarawa River managed to free himself and follow his nose back home.
Debbie McGowan, 44, had to be rescued by firefighters after her four wheel drive became stuck in the river at around 3.30pm yesterday, as the waters swelled from heavy rain.
She had been attempting to cross the river after feeding the horses on her Akatarawa property, near Upper Hutt, when the water began to rise around the vehicle.
While the firefighters were able to pull Ms McGowan to safety through a window, her terrified staffordshire bull terrier, Zeus, would not budge from the backseat.
‘‘When they rescued me, Zeus was just howling,’’ said Ms McGowan, recuperating at home last night.
‘‘They were risking their lives trying to save me so I couldn’t say that I wouldn’t come with them if they didn’t take the dog.
‘‘When I had to leave him behind I felt completely horrible.’’
Ms McGowan held out little hope that Zeus, who was known for his dislike of water, would make it through alive.
But just as she was ‘‘sitting at the table having a cry,’’ at home, she heard the unmistakeable tinkle of his dog collar.
‘‘I heard his collar shaking at the door and thought I was hearing things. But I ran to the door and there he was,‘‘ Ms McGowan said.
She couldn’t believe he had trotted all the way home, three hours after the ordeal. Aside from looking a little soggy, he was otherwise unscathed.
‘‘I had just given him up for dead. I thought he would stay in that car, it would get washed down the river and he’s going to drown.
‘‘He was so happy to see me – he rescued himself. Even though he would have hated every moment, I should have trusted he would find his way home.’’
- © Fairfax NZ News
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