River, the puppy saved by a Bay primary school student last year, has settled in with her rescuer's family and grown into a lovable, large dog.

Logan Lester, 10, was on his way to school on December 3 when he saw a tiny paw on a mossy root coming out from the river near Raymond Ave. He initially thought it was an eel, but after investigating he realised it was a tiny dog holding on to the side of the river.

He held on to a tree root by the river so he didn't fall in and bent down to pluck the puppy out of the water.

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He was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation signed by Tauranga mayor Stuart Crosby and received a special award from the Tauranga SPCA for being a "puppy hero".

On December 19, Logan's mother, Sandra Lester adopted the pup and Logan named it River.

"Seeing as Logan had saved her and they'd bonded, we went to the SPCA and just fell in love with her," Ms Lester said.

"Everyone loves her, she's just wonderful."

River, an energetic, and kind-natured dog, now lives with the family in Te Puke.

"She's full of beans," Logan said.

"She doesn't snore or slobber, she's part of the family," Ms Lester said.

River slept on Ms Lester's bed each night, but was taking up more space as she grew.

Logan Lester, then 9, with River, when he had just rescued her from a river in Te Puke.
Logan Lester, then 9, with River, when he had just rescued her from a river in Te Puke.

"She sleeps on her back with her legs up," Ms Lester said.

There will be no baby Rivers.

"She's been fixed, there'll be no River puppies, then I'd have to save even more," Logan joked.

Friend of the family, Imogen Lunam, 13, said River still had the mindset of a puppy.

"She still tries to sit on me but she just pushes me off the couch instead," she said.