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Hero dives into icy lake to save stricken pooch

PUBLISHED: 10:48 09 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:58 25 August 2010

RELIEF:Denise Silkwith her beloved dogs Tilly and Louis.

RELIEF:Denise Silkwith her beloved dogs Tilly and Louis.

A DOG lover said she is in a life of debt to a man who plunged into an icy lake to save her pet.

A DOG lover said she is in a "life of debt" to a man who plunged into an icy lake to save her pet.

Denise Silk, 49, of Upton Road South, Bexley Village, was distraught when her Spaniel, Louis, slipped his leash and ran onto thin ice in Footscray Meadows, Crayford, at midday last Sunday.

The shocked pooch sunk into the freezing water but was saved by a tall white man wearing a woolly hat who quickly slipped off his jeans and set off over the ice to save him.

Mrs Silk said: "It was horrible because it was so cold. The dog was screaming and he couldn't get out because every time he tried to jump his paws slipped and he fell back down.

"I felt so annoyed with myself that he had got off the lead, but also frustrated because it felt like there was nothing I could do. Then I was so grateful when this very tall man picked up a big stick and climbed over the ice with it cracking underneath him until it broke and he went in.

"He used the stick to break enough ice for Louis to swim over to him and climb into his arms."

The man, called Jeff, was helped by another man who tore his jumper off and left his partner and baby behind to join the rescue.

The Fire Brigade were also called, but the 20 minute rescue was over before they arrived.

Mother-of-three Mrs Silk said: "A lot of people wouldn't go to such lengths to help. It was dangerous.

"I didn't really get a chance to thank them because I was very upset. I hope they will read this and know what a good job they did."

After the rescue Jeff told the relieved housewife: "I'm going to have a real job explaining to my wife why my jeans are soaking wet and I have scratch marks all over me."

Louis made a full recovery after his ordeal.

jules.cooper@archant.co.uk

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