This is a guest post from Rhiannon, who has been married to “Husband” for 3.5 years and together we have “Toddler”, a just turned 2 year old, and “Baby” a nearly 7 month old. She introduces herself below.
“I started blogging in November 2011 as a way of trying to reclaim a little bit of time and space just for myself. Although I love being a mum, I feel I’ve lost my identity along the way and my blog is helping me to rediscover myself. So far, it’s been a harder journey than I anticipated, especially now that postnatal depression has reared its ugly head.
I blog about anything and everything that may pop into my mind with a healthy dose of Buffy the Vampire Slayer thrown in for good measure.
It may take time but just like Buffy, I’m on a mission to become A Hell Of A Woman.”
It was one day in May or June of 2009 (I can’t remember the exact date) when myself, husband and a close friend decided to take a leisurely Sunday morning bike ride around the country lanes where we live.
Part of the route saw us cycling alongside a canal. For the majority of that time, we encountered no-one else and heard only the steady hum of our revolving tyres. But this soon changed as we started to approach a stretch of the canal which was popular with country-walkers (due to a combination of the scenery and a tea room) and which canal boats used as a resting point.
Ahead of us, I could see 2 dogs running loose and in our direction. One looked to be a small terrier and the other was bigger, like a lurcher, but with tightly curled wiry brown fur. I assumed they belonged to the cyclist who was also heading in our direction and who presumably wanted them to be able to have a good run. But I was shocked to see, in his haste to zig zag between and past them, the cyclist knocked the bigger dog in the canal.
Theres no way he couldn’t have realised what had happened but he carried on without a care or backward glance.
Now I appreciate the dogs weren’t his, and yes they shouldn’t have been running loose without their owner, but if this had happened to you, you would have stopped to make sure the dog you’d knocked into was okay, wouldn’t you? Even if you’re not a dog lover, would you really have been able to keep going?
I admit I was stunned that the cyclist showed not a moment’s concern for what he’d done. It was as though the life of an animal meant nothing to him.
I wouldn’t describe myself as a “heroic” person. I’ve never been in a situation where I’ve been required to take on the role of the good samaritan. But I’d like to think I’m a compassionate person and there was no way I was leaving that dog to drown. He may have been tall but he was panicking and wasn’t able to pull himself out of the canal.
I jumped off my bike and approached the water’s edge slowly, so as not to scare him any further, and keeping my voice low, I cautiously extended my hand to gauge his reaction and to see whether I stood any chance of being able to help him. As luck would have it, he was friendly so I wrapped my arms around his middle and tried a combination pull/lift maneouvre; my thinking being that if he could at least get his front paws on the grass then he could probably pull the rest of himself up and out.
Now I’m only 5 foot 4″ and at that time probably weighed about 8.5 stone; having a panicking, waterlogged dog in my arms threw my centre of balance completely out and we both toppled forwards. I can’t swim and my breath caught in my throat as I went headfirst toward the water. Fortunately, husband caught me around the waist in time and together, we hoisted the poor dog out of the canal and rubbed him down as best as we could. 5 minutes later, the dog jumped up and off he trotted as though nothing had happened!
I wheeled my bike behind the dog hoping he’d lead us to his owner so I could let them know what had happened. I must have walked past 10 elderly walkers, all of whom had stood and watched me and my husband pull the dog from the canal, and not one of them said anything to me. Not one word. It was as though it had all taken place inside an invisible bubble. I remember thinking it was very strange that none of them made any comment; no passing remark about anything at all.
The dog was quickly reunited with his owner who looked very annoyed that he’d had to come out to find him and you know what? He offered no word of thanks, no smile, nothing. He barely managed to acknowledge me. The mind boggles. Sometimes I really don’t understand people.
Not long after, I found out I was pregnant with my first son. I do look back and wonder whether the impetus to save the dog was driven by my burgeoning pregnancy hormones. A need to protect life, human or not. What do you think? Have you ever had a similar experience? Have you ever jumped into a situation in order to help someone you’ve never met before? I’d love to hear your stories.
When I think back to that day, I still feel really proud of myself. One day, I’ll feel like that again.