The owner of a deaf and blind dog that got into trouble in a freezing loch has hailed a wild swimmer who saved her beloved pet.
Colin McKinnon was swimming at the isolated An Lochan Uaine, near Aviemore, when he heard Andrena Cowan shouting for help after retriever Lacey could not find her way to the shore.
Lacey had gone out into the loch with owner Andrena’s two other dogs, Poppy and Adele, while out on a walk.
Andrena, 73, from Clackmannanshire, said: “Lacey is deaf and blind but usually follows my other dogs into the water and swims without any problems.
“Retrievers love swimming and are able to take good care of themselves.
“But Lacey strayed from my other dogs and struggled to swim ashore.
“She couldn’t see where she was going and flailed about a distance from the shore, going round in circles.
“I knew she wouldn’t last long in the freezing water, saw Colin in his swimming gear and pleaded for him to help.”
“Without him she would have drowned. It was a bitterly cold day.”
The wild swimmer fan had trained in lifesaving techniques and went into rescue mode.
As he reached exhausted Lacey, he attempted to put what he had learned about saving humans into practice.
“I tried to put her on her back with my arm around her, as you would a drowning person, but she was having none of it,” Colin said.
“So I had to hold on to her and swim alongside, while guiding her to the shore.
“She was exhausted and ready to give up by then.”
Worn out and weary on the shore, Lacey came back to her old self and rushed up to Andrena.
Earlier this month the Sunday Post revealed how Colin’s passion for wild swimming saved his own life after losing his young son Brett in the Dunblane school tragedy in 1996.
He now regularly swims in open water near his home in Alness, Ross-shire.
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