There are wonderful tales of dogs saving humans, but this isn't one
There are wonderful tales of dogs saving humans, but this isn't one

Mel Buttle: My heroic dog-saving act

There are so many wonderful stories about dogs saving people. Local news channels love to close a bulletin with a pooch who went over and above. In dire circumstances, canines can tap into something deep inside themselves and pull out uncanny strength and intelligence to save their human from danger.

However, this is not the tale I'm about to tell. In fact, the exact opposite just occurred. I, the human, had to summon courage from my deep gut and leap into the unknown to save a 7kg jack russell cross from a watery mishap.

Coco, as discussed here previously, is my partner's dog. Coco is a former resident at the RSPCA and is an ankle-high, stubborn, grudge-holding, manipulating little piece of work. As I found out today, she's also an exceptional swimmer.

What caused Coco to come undone was not her skills in the water, rather her lack of listening and estimating skills.

Let's start at the beginning. I took Coco to a local waterway for a dip, it was a 33-degree day and I thought she'd appreciate getting her paws wet as an afternoon cooldown. Coco was at first shy, only going in about an inch deep, with a front paw tucked up for extra moral support. Fair enough, she's not a water dog, I thought, so I let her off the lead for a run around on the creek bank.

 

Mel Buttle
Mel Buttle

 

 

Here's where I think a dog that weighs the same as a pair of shoes outsmarted me. As soon as the lead was unclipped she ran over to where some ducks were gliding around and jumped straight in after them. They paddled away elegantly, with Coco in hot pursuit. I called her back, with many choice words thrown in, so she knew I meant it.

I'd love to say I'm an excellent stepmother and Coco returned to the shore upon my command. That, however, would be a lie. It's like Coco had an outboard motor attached. She whizzed off at speed, and that's when I began to panic. The other side of the creek was heavy bush, full of snakes, ticks and not much else. Coco was now closer to that far side of the creek than the side I was on. I removed my sunglasses, thongs and cap and dived into the water, fully clothed.

As I reached Coco she gave me a look that said, "Great you're here, let's chase ducks together". I don't know if you've ever done a Bondi Rescue-style extraction from a creek with a jack russell cross, but it's not easy to keep yourself afloat along with a dog that has no idea you're there to save her life.

I tried a few ways to haul Coco back to shore, none as successful though as a move that my body just sprang into when needed.

My brain had forgotten this move; it comes from high school, when we did lifesaving in Year 11 PE. Thank you, Ms Upton. I flipped over onto my back, I did the same to Coco, and with her head in the crook of my arm, together we kicked our way back to shore.

Coco is fine, she's very tired and so am I, my eyes are oddly itchy and I feel sick, but I know that's just psychosomatic as any offshoot of the Brisbane River couldn't possibly make me sick? As we all know the Brisbane River is an enticing, crystal-blue stream of health and rejuvenation.

Mel Buttle is a Brisbane comedian

Originally published as Mel Buttle: My heroic dog-saving act



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