A FATHER risked his own life to save his dog after the pet pooch was swept away down a river.
Stevie Myatt, 31, watched in horror as his Rottweiler, Bobo, disappeared under the River North Esk after taking him for a walk at Dalkeith’s Ironmills Park.
Mr Myatt, who lives in Newtongrange, Midlothian, didn’t hesitate to plunge into the water to help save nine-stone Bobo, but then found he needed rescuing himself.
He had been watching an amateur football match in the park and then took Bobo, who came third in last year’s Evening News Pet Idol competition, for a stroll through the woods when the two-year-old disappeared.
Mr Myatt, a father-of-one, said: “I could see him in the middle of the water. I shouted for him for a couple of seconds but he wasn’t making any inroads, so I made the decision that I was going in.
“He had gone under the water once before I got in and I thought, ‘I’m not willing to let him go under a second time’.
“I have got a nine-month-old son and my dog means every bit as much to me as him.”
The roofer added: “When I went in at the side, I couldn’t touch the bottom. I didn’t think the water would be up over my head – and that was instantly. I was clinging on for my life.”
After struggling to get Bobo to the side of the river, Mr Myatt was faced with the task of getting himself and the dog over a 4ft-high wall.
Mr Myatt, who was in the water for between 15 and 20 minutes, said: “I had the wall in front of me which was stopping me climbing out, and a waterfall to the left.”
Passer-by Julie Watson heard his frantic shouts for help. Mrs Watson, 46, of Dalkeith, was walking with her eight-year-old son, Roan, and three cocker spaniels, Bramble, Poppy and Coco, at the time.
She said: “I didn’t have time to think, I just wanted to get him out.
“It was the first time that I have seen fear in someone’s eyes. He kept saying he couldn’t hang on any longer.”
Joined by a pair of passing cyclists, as well as two of Mr Myatt’s friends from Bonnyrigg – Jason Bell and Mark Stewart – Mrs Watson helped hoist Bobo to safety using his collar and leash. The group then helped Mr Myatt over the wall.
Mr Myatt is now calling for that particular section of the river to be fenced off.
“It’s just the banking there so it is dangerous,” he said. “If a kid goes in there, you are not getting them out.”
Mr Myatt took Bobo to the vets the following day and he was given the all-clear.
He said: “If I turned back time now and got the chance to think, I would maybe think about it for a minute rather than 20 seconds before going in the water, but I would still go in.”