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Lucky Labrador survives epic swim

Todd the Labrador swam 10 miles in six hours to reach the shore after falling overboard on his owner’s boat

Todd, a two-year-old Labrador, has proved he really is a sea dog after surviving six hours in the Solent and swimming 10 miles to reach the shore.

Owned by Peter Loizou, a businessman from Winsor in the New Forest, Todd is a trained gundog. The inseparable pair go everywhere together including running races to raise money for charity.

A regular onboard Peter’s yacht, Todd has his own life jacket. Along with friends, the pair were enjoying the warm weather out on the Solent last Tuesday (16 July).

When Peter increased the yacht’s speed to 20 knots, he decided to put Todd below deck as he wasn’t wearing his life jacket due to the heat.

A short while later a friend on board asked what the black shape was in distance behind the boat. Presuming it to be part of a shipwreck,Peter carried on but admits he began to feel uneasy.

“I thought I would check on Todd just to make sure,” he said. “When I went down stairs, the doors were open and there was no sign of him. I finally realised that the black shape must have been Todd.”

Peter immediately turned the boat round, contacted the rescue services and spent the next four hours searching for him. He also stopped a boat race that was taking place, and after hearing Todd’s plight they joined in the search.

With the tide going in and the wind coming from a westerly direction, everyone thought Todd would end up in Cowes.

After four hours with no sign of Todd, Peter was forced to abandon the search. “I thought he was dead and I’m not ashamed to admit I cried,” he said.

A distraught Peter returned home before receiving a midnight call saying a 16-year-old boy walking with his grandfather on the beach at Beaulieu had found a very tired Todd.

Police were able to trace Peter via Todd’s microchip. He was examined by vet Virginia Richardson and found to be tired but otherwise fit and well.

“After coming so close to losing him I vowed to keep Todd away from boats,” saida delighted Peter, “but when we went down to the water he became really excited and couldn’t wait to get back in.”

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