Rescue authorities in England have a message for the public: If your dog falls into dangerous waters, don't try to save it yourself. The reminder came after a man came very close to death trying to save his mother-in-law's dog from a fast-flowing river Monday, the Times of London reports. The man's wife threw him a life ring when she saw he was in difficulty and she desperately clung to the rope for 30 minutes to stop him being swept out from the Suffolk harbor to sea before a lifeboat crew arrived, reports Coastal Scene. Lifeboat crew member Keith Meldrum says the water was "incredibly fast-flowing" and the man was close to death from cold and exhaustion when he was brought to safety. His wife had rope burns on her hands, while the dog was "perfectly fine" after being wrapped in blankets for 20 minutes.
The man "was exhausted from fighting so hard against the force of the water and was at a critical stage when we got to him," Meldrum says, adding: "Everyone on the lifeboat crew understands the urgency and the temptation to jump in after your dog. But this is the second time this year we have had someone go into the harbor after their dog—and it’s the second time they have been dangerously close to death by the time we have pulled them out." In a Facebook post, the local branch of the volunteer Royal National Lifeboat Institution notes that other people whose dogs fell in the harbor had the animals rescued safely after calling emergency services. (This guy saved his dogs by fighting off a cougar.)