Injured dog swept along the River Tees has been saved from drowning by a seal

An injured dog which was being swept along the River Tees has had a lucky escape when he was saved from drowning by a seal near Newport bridge in Middlesbrough.

Chris Hinds, a court warrant officer, and his son Ray, spotted the elderly dog, on the banks of the Tees while they were out walking their dogs on the evening of 18 June.

Chris tried to approach the dog which was whimpering and obviously distressed but it was terrified and jumped back into the river.

“The minute I tried to get near him, he panicked and jumped into the water” said Chris.

While Ray ran half a mile back to their home to call the police and RSPCA, Chris kept an eye on the dog who had disappeared from view.

Minutes later the dog re-appeared and began trying to swim across to the other side of the river, but got caught in the fast flowing tidal run and dragged under.

Helpless, Chris could only stand and watch until something unusual happened: “From out of nowhere this seal popped up and started nudging him across to the other side of the river to the mudflats. It was like a scene out of Lassie. The seal pushed him about 300 yards towards the bank and the dog scrambled onto the mud.”

Chris made his way down to the dog but it tried to run away again. Exhausted and being watched by the seal it finally gave up and made its way over. With the help of a fireman they carried the dog off the mudflats.

Glenn Boyle, a seal expert from the National Seal Sanctuary in Gweek, Cornwall, said: “Seals are naturally inquisitive and it is not unusual for them to interact with things within their environment.”

The dog who has been named “Seamo”, in honour of David Seaman, the England goalie, was immediately taken to a vet. He had swallowed a lot of water, was suffering from shock and had a cut to his head and a sprained hind leg.

Seamo, has since made a good recovery and has been transferred to the RSPCA’s Great Ayton Animal Centre, Cleveland, where it is hoped his owner will come forward to claim him.

If his owners can’t be found, Seamo will eventually be put up for re-homing.

Contact Great Ayton Animal Centre (tel: 01642 724016)

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