Marley the golden labrador is being hailed a hero for his part in saving a small dog from being swept out to sea.
The two-and-a-half year old labrador was on a morning walk with his owners at Petone Beach in Wellington when they saw a small, distressed dog in trouble yesterday.
Steve Sheppard said the panicking dog was barking and paddling furiously, with a bystander racing to try to grab the dog as it was swept further away.
"All of a sudden, my dog Marley jumps off the sidewalk and swims out to this little dog to help it," Sheppard said.
"I was amazed, we never trained him for this," he said.
Marley swam out to the distressed dog, "gave him a bit of a nuzzle" and swam around to the other side, acting as a barrier between the sea current.
"He pushed him back into shore and the dog started swimming to shore," Sheppard said.
"The best analogy I can use is he did like a tugboat would do and pushed him back towards shore."
As both dogs reached the shore, another bystander dived into the water and lifted the shaking dog out, much to the relief of his shocked owner, Sheppard said.
"The owner was an elderly lady and she was just in tears because she couldn't have jumped in and got him," he said.
"It was two complete strangers and my dog that managed to collectively get the dog back up to shore," Sheppard said, who also wanted the bystanders' selfless actions acknowledged.
The small dog, which looked to be a highland terrier, was quickly wrapped in a towel and whisked away, he said.
Sheppard also had to get his feet wet, hopping in to haul the 30kg lab ashore, before impressed dog owners gave Marley treats.
Tired from his heroic actions, Marley quickly curled up and fell asleep when he arrived home and was later treated to some steak on Sunday evening, Sheppard said.
While he didn't catch the names of those involved, Sheppard said their reaction represented the local community.
"It was all very selfless," he said. "I think its a wonderful reflection of the community."
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