Young Labradoodle Jess – struggling in a plastic cone collar – leaped the back wall and plunged six feet into the water.
Brave Julia Wylie didn’t think twice about leaping into the Thames to rescue a drowning dog – until she needed rescuing herself.
Julia, 36, was working as a gardener when young Labradoodle Jess – struggling in a plastic cone collar – leaped the back wall of her employer’s garden and plunged six feet into the water.
With no ladder to climb down, she threw off her shoes and jumped in after the dog, but struggled to cling to the water’s edge.
Julia, from Brixton, who had been working in the garden of a £2m Putney home, said the dog had never swum before or jumped the wall.
She told the London Evening Standard: “Maybe she saw a duck or a goose. I didn’t even realise she was in the water until I heard her splashing.
“When I saw her she looked really panicked. She was right by the wall and was struggling. We just couldn’t get her out, it’s a six foot drop.
“I was worried she was going to float down the river. I went to look for a ladder but there wasn’t one.
“I had no hesitation about jumping in. I took off my shoes and jumped down six feet. I tried to hang onto plants on the side of the wall but the tide was really strong and the bushes pulled off when I tried to grab them.
“I had to keep swimming while lifting Jess up. There was no way of standing up – the water was 25ft deep. I thought I was going to have to float down the river with her until we reached the park.”
It was 10 frantic minutes before the pair were spotted by a passing river bus. The skipper steamed across to them and a crew member threw them a rope while a rescue boat was scrambled.
A Port of London Authority boat eventually pulled the pair to safety to the cheers of passengers on board the river bus.
Jess was taken home while Julia was taken for a check-up before arriving back at her client’s house still dripping wet: “They are really grateful I rescued their dog. Jess is fine, but I’ve had to put up some chicken wire along the wall to stop her jumping over again.