'I thought he was a goner' - Woman's relief after Good Samaritan saves tiny dog Bazil from doggy paddle gone wrong
A tiny dog called Bazil who has a decidedly Fawlty sense of direction has been saved from drowning in Portrush harbour by a Good Samaritan boat owner.
The nine-year-old pooch, who'd been allowed off his lead to go for a paddle, got into difficulties after trying to give chase to a duck he'd spotted in the water.
Owner Nicola Spence from Coleraine watched helplessly as the hapless hound, who's a cross between a Jack Russell and a Corgi, went farther away from dry land - and safety - and got dog-tired in the process.
"I was screaming like a banshee at Bazil to come back but he was having none of it. He kept going in the opposite direction," explained Nicola, who got her "precious pet" two years ago from the Causeway Coast Dog Rescue centre.
"I thought he was a goner. My heart was in my mouth," she said.
But luck was on Bazil's side.
Portrush man Shane Mawhinney just happened to be in a dinghy in the harbour and heard Nicola's cries for help.
He explained: "I saw the dog and realised he was in trouble.
"I didn't know how and where he was going to get out of the water, so I rowed over to him and managed to make sure he went between the mooring lines of boats in the harbour.
"I knew he wouldn't be able to get over the ropes."
Shane then grabbed the breathless Bazil and brought him back to Nicola, who was clearly relieved to be reunited.
She told his lifesaver: "I can't thank you enough."
Nicola, who had gone to Portrush to walk Bazil and to let her young son Nyloh ride his bicycle, said her pooch had got into difficulties in the sea once before. "A while back, at Downhill, he had problems in the water but he was able to get back to us that time.
"I thought it would be fine to let him off the lead in Portrush but I won't be doing it again.
"They say a cat has nine lives but there'll be no more chances taken with Bazil. I'm so pleased that Shane was in the right place at the right time to save him."
Shane added: "I was only too glad to help. It was great to see the looks on the faces of Nicola and Nyloh after I handed Bazil back to them."