Russell Shaw, 75, from Barnes, says will never forget the day he almost lost his two best pals - his mate Eddie Elligot and his dog Easy, a street dog he rescued from Turkey five years ago.
Recently Chiswickw4.com covered the story of how the local RNLI plucked Mr. Elligot from the river- he had fallen in while taking Easy, who is owned by Mr. Shaw, for a walk. And Easy then went on to become friends with the local crew who looked after him while Mr. Elligot was taken to hospital for a check-up after his ordeal.
Mr Shaw, who has published a book about his pet called ‘Easy – A Dog’s Life’, said: ‘I can’t believe I nearly lost the two of them. Eddie was taking my dog for a walk along the River Thames at Chiswick when Easy bolted after a squirrel. Eddie lost his footing and fell into the water.
‘Eddie couldn’t get out and became weak and hypothermic trying to keep his head above the water. If it wasn’t for the Chiswick RNLI lifeboat crew coming to rescue him, I dread to think what would have happened.’
Mr Elligot, 51, from Barnes, was taken to Charing Cross hospital by ambulance and despite suffering from hypothermia, was released later the same day,( Wednesday 15 Jan ) He originally fell into the river shortly after 5pm.
Mr Shaw was delighted his best friend was safe but feared his beloved dog was lost after being left behind on the riverbank. The pair share a close bond after Mr Shaw rescued the mongrel from a life as a street dog in Turkey.
However, he need not have worried as the lifeboat crew later returned to the riverbank to find Easy. They spotted the dog and an off duty crew member walked Easy back to Chiswick lifeboat station.
Mr Shaw said: ‘I was frantic about Easy. I thought he might be lost for good. We’ve been through so much together that I couldn’t bear to lose him. When I found out the London lifeboat crew had not only found Easy, but were also looking after him at the station, I was thrilled.’
Easy was a stray in Turkey when Mr Shaw spotted him five years ago begging for scraps from tourists in the street. He immediately fell in love with the dog and wanted to bring him back to England, but quarantine rules meant this was not possible.
Picture - David Clarke, RNLI (left to right): RNLI volunteer crew member John Pooley, Eddie Elligot and Russell Shaw with Easy the dog.
Despite only knowing the dog for three days, Mr Shaw returned to Turkey and spent a year travelling around Europe in a motorhome with Easy, while he went through the long process of getting the dog a pet passport. It was this experience he used as inspiration for his book.
Mr Elligot, who runs Camden Lock Records in London, also thanked the RNLI London for rescuing him from the water.
He said: ‘I fell into the river and kept trying to get out but I couldn’t. I was disorientated and getting weaker and weaker. I was just holding on and the next thing I know the lifeboat was there and then I was in hospital.’
John Pooley, a volunteer RNLI crew member at the charity’s Chiswick lifeboat station, said: ‘Eddie was in a bad way when we pulled him from the water so it was nice to see him safe and well. He was asking about the dog while we were taking him to the ambulance so the crew went back and managed to find Easy on the riverbank. We were more than happy to look after him for few hours.’
Crew from Chiswick lifeboat station will be raising money for the RNLI on Friday 31 January and Saturday 1 February as part of the charity’s SOS Day. They will be fundraising at the Bentalls Centre in Kingston, between 9.30am and 6pm on both days. For more information visit www.chiswicklifeboat.org.uk.
To find out more about Russell Shaw’s book about his dog Easy visit www.russellshawbooks.com