Preston woman risks life to save distressed dog in River Ribble

A woman from Preston has been daubed an 'angel' after saving a couple's pet labrador from drowning in the Preston Docks.

By Emma Downey
Thursday, 3rd February 2022, 9:30 am

Driving Instructor Kayley Holmes, 32, was conducting a lesson last Thursday morning at 10am when she witnessed two year-old black labrador Bonnie struggling in the River Ribble.

Explaining what happened, kind-hearted Kayley, who has two dogs herself, said: "I was using the carpark across from the Bullnose. I went down the ladder as we have a sort of memorial thing for my nana and uncle. It's quite a special place for us as we spread their ashes down at the Bullnose when I heard Matthew shouting for Bonnie in a panic.

"I went over and saw the dog in the water and just knew I had to help."

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Thanks a lot Kayley!

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Acting fast she then climbed down the ladder which has between an eight to 11 metre drop and went into the water, managing to keep Bonnie afloat until she could attach her lead to her harness and pull her to safety.

Even more impressive is the fact that she continued her driving lesson afterwards.

Calling Kayley an 'angel', Bonnie's owner Matthew Shakeshaft, 51, from Preston who was with his partner Karen at the time, said: Bonnie loves playing with a ball.

Two year old black labrador Bonnie.

"I had let her off the lead when I noticed the ball had bounced off her nose and into the the dock, over the wall and into the river basin. She jumped in after it to retrieve it."

Panic mode setting in, he rang 999 but was confronted with the three options process.

Matthew who is partially disabled, added: "Bonnie is a working dog and a good swimmer but could not get out and had swam to the other side of the river with the ball in her mouth.

"Thankfully Kayley went into the river to help.

Bonnie's owner with rescuer Kayley.

"Luckily she had her harness on and had an extendable lead and all three of us managed to pull her up over the ladder."

Matthew, who has since kept in touch with Kayley, added: "Kayley was brilliant - a case of in the right place at the right time. She was amazing, like an angel appearing on the bridge.

"My partner is still quite shocked.

"Kayley is the real star. She should be awarded. We will always be indebted to her."

"The lesson is don't have balls near a river base."

In another kind twist of fate, Kayley also taught Matthew's son Zach, 29, to drive.

"It's a small world isn't it!"

As the old adage goes - good luck comes in threes so watch this space!