Dog walker Stewart Povey-Meier has been hailed a hero after saving the life of a Golden Labrador struggling against the current in the River Uck.
Stewart, who lives at Fairlight on Manor Park, was walking his own dog Scooby-Doo, a Lurcher/Chihuahua cross, on Sunday with his 14-year-old son Josh when he heard a woman crying for help.
They were near Uckfield Rugby Club and followed the calls until they found the woman panicking because she couldn’t swim and was unable to reach her dog Jessie who was stuck in the river.
Stewart, who works in ‘a custodial environment’, tried to encourage the animal towards shallower water and the bank but could see she was fighting against the current and getting more and more tired and stressed.
He hung on to a branch and tried to catch Jessie but couldn’t get a grip on her and ended up going into the water after her.
Stewart saved the dog but then was in difficulty himself. The water was up to his chest and the current against him, and he was relieved when son Josh, who went for help, came back with two other dog walkers who helped him out.
He told Uckfield News: “We were lucky that all ended well for everybody. I have four children and so it is worrying really to think of what might have happened but instinct kicked in when I saw the dog in difficulty and the woman was so worried.”
Stewart is a hero to his family. He walked home sopping wet and with his wellies full of water but wife Jenni was really pleased he had saved the dog. His youngest son Jack, aged ten, ran the bath for him, and Josh made him a cup of tea.
Stewart’s other children are Bradley, 11, and Tia, seven. Josh attends school in Haywards Heath, Bradley goes to Uckfield Community Technology College and Jack and Tia attend Rocks Park Primary School where mum Jenni is a dinner lady. Jenni also works in a community cafe at Crowborough.
Forty-five minutes after Stewart arrived at home Jessie’s owner Janet came round to thank him again bringing with her a bottle of Champagne, some chocolates and a thank you card.
Stewart said: “I think we’ve made a new dog-walking friend now. My wife loves dogs as much as I do and she told Janet to pop in any time she was going for a walk and they could take the dogs out together.”
Find local businesses in our Uckfield Directory