• Ali posted an update 5 months ago

    So me and the OH went on a walk in our local country park, and took our spaniel on Tuesday.

    When we suddenly crossed paths with one of our neighbours, carrying her newborn, with their two dogs. Silva, German Shepherd, and Sergio, French Bulldog. Silva and my spaniel are best of fiends, absolutely inseparable! I also call her our neighbour, but her and her fiancé, we would probably class as very close friends. We were in the lakes with them last week, and me and her OH go out walking regularly.

    So the three of us, the baby, and the three dogs all set off on a longer walk. But along the way is a flood pipe. A steep slope on both sides with a higher side and a lower side, which I can only assume controls the flow of the water in the flood plains, down to the lower level. It just looks like a stream of flood water both sides, with no flow.

    We were chatting, and I noticed Silva wasn’t with us. My eye is drawn to the water on the higher side of the path, and I see silva’s snout gasping for breath. I sprint over and jump the barrier, and stick my arms straight into the water and fish around. I can’t feel her at all. So I run to the other side hoping she’s popped out, but nothing. So run back to the higher side, and jump straight in, holding the railings for security. My feet get sucked straight into the pipe but I could hold myself fine. Our neighbour is in absolute hysterics, trying to get her baby out of her papoose. She wanted to get in, but I told her no.

    But that was it, I didn’t know what to do. So we rang the fire brigade and they came and found her body washed out an hour later. They didn’t mind being called out at all, and were brilliant! Can’t fault a thing they did or said, they were incredible.

    My neighbour/friend arrived just as they found her body and he was devastated. We always say how our dogs are our world, and his world was now gone. I feel so much for him and just wish there was something we could do.

    But the reason I’ve posted this, is a couple of things.

    PLEASE be careful around these flood pipes, they look still, but the flow is unbelievably strong!! It could have easily been a child, let alone a dog!

    Secondly, some advice. I know it’s probably not the best place to come, but I don’t want to burden anyone else with it, as it’s our friends who need all the support, not me.

    But I just feel so guilty! To the point where I can’t bring myself to go and see a good friend who’s in need. We always talk about how we’d do anything for our dogs if they’re in trouble, but the time when he needed me to help and he wasn’t there, I couldn’t! If I’d have seen her quicker, or jumped straight in instead of hesitating, it might of been different! I just feel like I’ve let him down and I’m to blame.

    I don’t want sympathy, I just don’t know what to do.

    Thanks.

    • logi replied 5 months ago

      What a sad story. I am no great fan of dogs but I am fighting back tears. A horrible and undeserved end

      but: you are *not* to blame. You did what was in your power to do, and more than most would. Your neighbours are lucky there was someone as selfless as you to even attempt the rescue.

      Speak to them. It’s likely to be emotional; but you both need to have that conversation.

    • That is a tragedy. I’m not sure you could have done more and well done for trying.

      Ive had a dog tragedy myself in different circumstances and it’s traumatic hence your feelings of guilt.

      Go and see them. There will be tears but that’s what life’s about. The longer you leave it the harder it is.

    • “PLEASE be careful around these flood pipes, they look still, but the flow is unbelievably strong!! It could have easily been a child, let alone a dog!”

      It’s so easy to underestimate the power of moving water – remember, a cubic meter of water literally weighs a tonne. If you put your body in the way of the flow it doesn’t take much water to pile up before you’re subject to a *lot* of force.

      “Secondly, some advice. I know it’s probably not the best place to come, but I don’t want to burden anyone else with it, as it’s our friends who need all the support, not me.”

      It looks to me like you could do with a bit of support too. You’re traumatised right now. There’s no right or wrong to how you should be feeling, but try to cut yourself some slack as far as the guilt is concerned. You did everything you could, at some risk to yourself incidentally, and by preventing your neighbour from jumping in there it is entirely possible that you saved her life.

      My advice for what good it might be: Be kind to yourself. Reach out to your friends as soon as you feel able, even if it feels a little bit awkward at first, so that you can support them but also so that they can support you.

      All the best.

    • Have a bloody large whisky and thank the stars you are still alive.

      Winter temperature water pinning one into a debris gate is the stuff of nightmares, especially if you did so in heavy shoes and clothes.

      I say that as someone whose idea of fun is to lob myself off the top of Low Force when it’s in mild spate and the water is 14oC, without a wet suit or a canoe wrapped around me. Good work for controlling the cold shock and keeping it together in the water.

      The most important thing you did was keeping the new mother out of the water. Between the after effects of pregnancy, labour and having a new baby, and the hysterics, you could have been looking at a motherless baby.

      There’s not much point in me telling you not to feel guilty, because brains don’t work like that. If it keeps bothering you or affecting your sleep go and talk to a head doctor. Talking on here is a good sign.

    • josh replied 5 months ago

      You are not to blame.

      You did not kill the dog. The horrible accident killed the dog. You did everything you were capable of at the time and a damn site more than most. You are clearly a great friend.

      Pop round and see them. Take a card and some flowers.

    • mel replied 5 months ago

      Horrid thing to be involved with.

      It sounds like you did what you could, and kept your head. If you’d not been there doing what you could, maybe a young mum would have gone in the water and the tragedy would be even worse. Well done mate, its right to be upset, but you did exactly the right thing I suspect.

      Go round theirs, hug.

    • Ali replied 5 months ago

      Thanks to all for the support, I think it’s just hindsight. What I could of done differently, just eating me up.

      I know I should go round and see them, but it’s just that feeling in the pit of my stomach. Just a mad mad guilt.

      But again, thanks everyone for the kind words.

    • kal replied 5 months ago

      As others have said, don’t beat yourself up. You put your life at risk to try and save the dog, there was nothing more you could do. There is a long and tragic list of people who risked their lives to save pets, and didn’t make it. Be thankful you weren’t another victim.

      If you’re feeling guilty or awkward about going round, that is to be expected. But the longer you leave it the harder it will be. Perhaps text them and arrange to pop over on Friday. Bring a bottle of wine/whisky/brandy and have a wake? I’d imagine your friends are just as traumatized as you are, probably more so.

    • You put yourself at considerable risk to try and save a friend’s dog. You didn’t succeed, but you did a lot towards trying to help your friend’s dog. If your friends are good friends, and ‘normal’ people, whatever normal is, they’ll just appreciate that you tried, and will be very glad that you’re still here, too.

      At least you tried…

    • That’s an awful story but you’ve nothing to feel guilty about.

      I badly injured and very nearly killed my dog by accident a few years back and I still feel sick at the memory. It wasn’t your fault and you did everything you could. Do talk to your friends when you can, it won’t be easy but it should help.

      Might be worth a letter to the environment agency when you’re up to it, drains like that often have debris grates.

    • Looking in hindsight will make you go crazy. I felt guilty for a long time after (as a rather wayward teenager) getting into a car and directing two women and a guy to the red light district in Sheffield (they obviously didn’t know the city), my intuition told me they just wanted to get there after a long drive and I would be safe, which turned out to be true, and with an edge on the word ‘looking’, told me they were looking for somebody. Then walking past roughly the same area an hour or 2 later, I came across a lady who might have been described as being dressed like a prostitute who was in a traumatised state from having been beaten up, and was asking me the way to the train station.

      I spent quite a long time wondering if I’d unwittingly led to her being beaten up by the three people I’d helped out, but if I had, it would have down to a quirk of fate, and nothing I could have foreseen, just like you couldn’t foresee what was going to happen to your friend’s dog.

      When I told my more streetwise friend about it not long after, she mimicked exactly the way they’d said ”We’re *looking* for someone” in a way which was uncanny, but there you go, if I had played a part I wasn’t to know about it in advance – because that’s not how life is.

      Be kind to and forgive yourself, beyond the obvious, we can’t predict what’s going to happen. Am pretty glad I survived my wayward teens in some ways.

    • I can’t do more than repeat what all the kind posters have said, you are not to blame if you hadn’t been there there is a reasonable chance that something worse could have happened.

      But as others have said seeing them again will be emotional but needs to be done sooner rather than later. I imagine your friends are wrapped up in their own grief and might not be aware of how traumatized you are feeling as it is their dog not yours. I’m sure they will want to offer you comfort and support if they know how upset you are.

    • You did a great thing trying to save Silva and preventing anyone else being hurt. There are so many stories of people drowning trying to rescue dogs. You did the right thing. Speak to your friends, they will understand. These guys may be able to help you organise your thoughts, even though Silva was not your dog: https://www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-bereavement-and-pet-loss