WHEN Eleri Carden's beloved dog fell through the ice on a frozen lake, the animal lover's fear of water did not stop her leaping into action.
Eleri cast aside her phobia to plunge into Acton Park lake in Wrexham to pull four-year-old collie cross Max to safety.
The 59-year-old from Marford said she didn't regret taking her life into her hands, despite recent warnings from officials about the dangers of icy water.
The drama unfolded on Monday when Eleri was taking Max for a walk after visiting relatives in Wrexham.
All was well until Max decided to go onto the lake. Although there was ice on the surface a thaw was setting in, and while initially it was able to bear Max’s weight, he suddenly fell through and disappeared.
Eleri said: “As soon as he had got on the lake I called him back. He turned around, but then the ice broke and he fell through.
“Max was struggling trying to get back on the solid ice, but the edges just kept cracking more and more. All I could see was the top of his head. It was terrible."
With no-one else close at hand to offer help and time quickly running out, Eleri said she felt it was down to her to save Max’s life.
She leapt into the lake and, ignoring the freezing temperatures, waded over to her dog. Every step forward was a massive effort for her.
Eleri added: “The intense cold took my breath away and I have a fear of deep, dark, water - but was able to get to over to Max. I’m 5ft 6in tall and the water was up to my waist. I didn’t realise just how deep it would be.”
Eleri grabbed Max by his collar and then managed to haul the two of them back to dry land. She was left shocked and frozen by the ordeal.
She said: “I felt upset and my clothes were completely soaked through. I also had wellingtons on and they were full of water. Afterwards we walked back to the car. Max, who is usually quite noisy, was very subdued.”
And despite the effects of her experience Eleri said if a similar situation occurred again she would do exactly the same thing.
She added: “You just don’t know how you will react to something like this until it actually happens. I would say it was definitely worth it. I am a real dog lover.”
Speaking about Eleri’s rescue, Martin Howarth, Wrexham Council’s Parks, Countryside and Rights of Way manager, said: "We do not recommend anyone jumping into a lake to save their dog. It is likely the dog would be able to get out itself, if left to its own devices.
“Ice is a natural hazard and we don't try to manage or control ice in the parks, so the lakes will freeze and thaw across this winter period. Visitors need to be sensible and keep away from these areas.
“As a general point we suggest people keep their dogs on leads in the parks if they feel they are unable to control them through commands.
“We do not encourage visitors to let their dogs go into the lakes at all, whatever the weather is."