A dog owner today praised the ‘hero’ man whose quick thinking saved the life of her pooch` who was left for dead after being hit by a van.
Dawn Wild, 45, was walking her beloved seven-month old cockerpoo Bella through Stanley Park when the pup squeezed through the barred fence and ran into East Park Drive, where she collided with the van.
Dawn, who lives at Jubilee Gardens in Staining, said: “I thought ‘oh my god, my dog is dead’.
“She was on the other side of the road and I ran over to her in a panic.
“There was a girl there and I said to her ‘is she dead?’ because I couldn’t bear to look.
“She was breathing very erratically like she had been winded and her eyes were closing.
If it hadn’t been for his quick thinking I don’t think Bella would have made it
“She didn’t even look at me when I called her name.”
Bella’s saviour came in the form of 29-year-old shop owner Matthew Fletcher, who spied the pet as he was driving past in his van.
Matthew, who lives in South Shore, said: “I was driving down past the De Vere Hotel when I saw Dawn crouched down over the dog at the side of the road.
“I jumped out of the van and ran over and asked her what happened, and she told me her dog had been hit by a car.
“I ran back to my van and grabbed a towel and wrapped her up in it.”
The incident happened at 11.50am on February 21.
A witness said the van driver stopped briefly and then drove off.
Dawn said: “I was in an awful state when the loveliest young man stopped and came over to us.
“He was very quick and calm; he wrapped Bella in a towel and drove us to the vets.
“I can’t thank him enough. If it hadn’t been for his quick thinking I don’t think Bella would have made it.”
Bella was rushed to the Andrew Mellor Veterinary Surgery in Norbreck, where she was found to be suffering from two collapsed lungs as a result of the hit and run.
Mr Mellor said: “She was in a very bad state.
“Both lungs had collapsed from the massive impact of the truck, so we had to operate immediately.
“It was very touch-and-go when she first arrived and she was really struggling to get any air in at all.
“If she had been brought in 30 minutes later she would almost certainly have died.”
Bella had an operation to insert tubes into her chest to drain the fluid that was filling her lungs, which saved her life.
Dawn, who works at her own salon, said: “The vet was fantastic and even stayed with Bella all night to make sure she was fine.
“Matthew stayed with me for an hour after we brought her in and and asked for my mobile phone number and every day he texted me to ask if Bella was OK.
“He was the hero of the day.
“Bella is my little baby and I’m just so pleased that everything is fine again.
“She’s like a normal little puppy.
“You wouldn’t tell there had been anything wrong with her, apart from her right side which is shaven.
“When Matthew saw her again he said she was like a completely different dog.”
Matthew, who has a dog of his own, a Jack Russell called Dudley, said: “I’d do it again for anybody else.
“Being a dog owner myself I’m a bit of an animal lover.
“I’ve got a new dog-walking friend now.”