12:54 28 January 2015
A 15-year-old blind dog was pulled to safety after falling into the icy waters of Hampstead Heath ponds.
The terrier tumbled into the Model Boating Pond on Friday afternoon and a fraught rescue quickly unfolded as the dog had never been in a pond before.
Ron Vester, who captured the scene on film, said: “Being blind, the dog was unable to see his way back, but luckily scrambled on some wire mesh holding up a bank of reeds.
“Myself and another lady called the ranger and fortunately also a lifeguard Ian.
“He assessed the scene and had another ranger bring waist-high waders. Ian then waded about 20ft along the outer edge of the reeds and plucked up the terrified dog.
”All the while an elderly woman who owned the terrier was calling out “Mummy’s here, Mummy’s here”.
“It was so sad to watch,” said Mr Vester. “The old lady reached for her pet wrapping her coat around him and whisked the doggie off to their car muttering, ‘We won’t come here again’.
”Paul Jeal, swimming manager at City of London Corporation, which runs Hampstead Heath, said: “We received a call saying a dog was in serious difficulty in the Model Boating Pond.
“Ian quickly made his way to the site with a pair of waders and carried out the rescue in a safe and controlled manner. Our lifeguards regularly swim in cold water as part of their training, so they are able to operate in near freezing conditions.”