A feisty two year old Jack Russell Terrier, named Russell, who fell into the River Thames and then paddled his way through the Thames Barrier, the central gate of the world-famous flood defence, lives to tell the tail after being rescued by the Port of London Authority (PLA).

The little Terrier was rescued after two members of the PLA team, Guy Underwood and Kevin Reynolds, spotted a stunned dog walker gesturing at the little dog who was powering his way through the Barrier towards Tate & Lyle Sugars.

The PLA pair leapt into action, launching the authority’s small work boat Dory, before lifting Russell to safety. They got him back to the foreshore and although barely able to stand from exhaustion, he seemed right as rain.

Guy said: “We got to work thinking a person had fallen in and had no idea it was a dog. How he was able to get through the barrier and so far to the other side of the river – I have no idea. I dare say most humans wouldn’t have got that far. He’s a bit of a superdog.”

Russell with one of his rescuers, Kevin Reynolds, PLA General Purpose Master

Russell’s owner John Pedro, pictured below, who works at a skip hire firm about half a mile from the Thames Barrier, was overjoyed to have his “guard dog” back in one piece. He thinks Russell, who’s named after TV comic Russell Howard, might have been chasing after a fox.

“We were so worried about him”, a relieved John admitted. “He must’ve been after a fox when he fell in the water – he hates foxes with a passion. It’s incredible that he went through the barrier like some sort of ship. He usually won’t set foot out of the yard, even when the gate’s opened.”

He added: “Russell seems ok now, he got over the experience pretty quickly. I’d like to buy a pint for the guys who rescued him, they did a brilliant job.”

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