Hugo the Labrador: Meet West Lothian’s bravest dog how saved owner from drowning in a freezing canal

A loyal canine has been hailed a hero after he helped rescue his 81-year-old owner from the freezing canal in Linlithgow.

Monday, 1st March 2021, 2:54 pm
Devoted dog Hugo helped raise the alarm.

Brian Watson was out for a walk with his black Labrador Hugo around 5pm on January 31 when he fell into the bitterly cold water near Friars Brae bridge in Linlithgow.

The devoted pooch refused to leave his owner's side and managed to get the attention of Gregor Angus who was out for a walk with his four-year-old son Lucas.

Mr Angus and his son approached Hugo, who appeared to be sitting alone by the canal and were shocked to see a body, seemingly lifeless, lying face-down in the water.

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Gregor Angus was out walking with his five-year-old son Lucas when he came across a lone black labrador on January 31.

Acting fast, the 39-year-old managed to drag Mr Waston to safety while his young son held onto Hugo’s lead.

An ambulance was called and the terrified pensioner was rushed to hospital.

His daughter Dawn Watson has confirmed that her father has now made a full recovery and said the whole family are “entirely grateful” to the rescue team.

Mr Angus said without Hugo he would have not spotted Mr Watson and would not have been able to save him in time.

He said: “I spotted his dog sitting by itself which I thought was a bit strange. When we got closer, I noticed what turned out to be Brian lying in the water. He was lying face down in the water and was completely lifeless.

“Fortunately he was reasonably close to the edge. My son looked after the dog, and I was able to haul Brian round to get his face out of the water, while at the same time calling for help.

“Luckily some others nearby were able to assist, and thanks to them we were able to get him out of the water to safety.

"I am glad to hear that Brian escaped the incident without any serious injuries, and has recovered from it.”

Earlier this month Mr Angus, who works as a senior business development manager, was presented with a local hero award for his quick-thinking and heroic action.

Now Hugo the Labrador has also received special recognition for his part in the rescue and has been named Linlithgow’s first Local Canine Hero.

Westport Veterinary Clinic presented the loyal pooch with a royal blue paw rosette and a ‘waggy bag’ full of treats.

Carena Schmid, a veterinary nurse at the clinic said Hugo is a “true hero” in her eyes.

She said: “It takes a very special bond, and a very special dog, to remain calm and show such loyalty and devotion when something like this happens when their owners are in danger.

“He remained calm and stayed with Brian, had he not stayed at the scene the results of this incident could have been fatal.

“Hugo is a sweet, gentle-natured, very loyal and loving dog. He is a true hero in our eyes, a loyal companion of all levels, a credit to the Watson family and the life they have given him to create such a bond between them.”

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