THE DRAMATIC rescue of a dog stranded on Lurgan park lake took place in 1986. And the man whose dog was saved wanted to thank the quiet hero of the hour.
After risking his own life in the rescue, he didn’t hang around to be thanked. Noel Buchanan had been taking his dog Archie for his morning walk around the park early. Like most dogs Archie had a penchant for duck-chasing and scampered on to the lake in his customary fashion.
He went out into the middle of the lake and onto a patch where the water was not frozen. At first he wasn’t too distressed, but began to yelp when he realised he could not get back onto solid ground.
“I called to him for a couple of minutes, but he just couldn’t get back onto the ice so I knew I’d have to try and rescue him,” said Noel.
“I went to the gate lodge to get a rope, but the only thing there was a boat. I saw a couple of young fellows jogging and one of them offered to help.”
The UDR then came on the scene as well and were able to give the would-be rescuers a short rope as the drama really began. “The jogger said that he would come out with me, so I tied the rope around myself and helped push him out on the boat. It was frightening, the ice was cracking all around us.”
When they came close to where the ice ended Noel, with the rope around him, crawling along the ice face down to reach the dog and then put him up into the boat. Eventually they got back to the shore and Noel wanted to thank the young man for his help, but he went back to his jogging before he could get half a chance.
“All I got was his second name, McCann. I’m really grateful to him, for he didn’t have any reason to save the dog. It was my dog, so I had to do something - he hadn’t,” continued Noel.
“Even if I can’t thank him in person - which I’d like to do - I hope he reads this article and knows just how grateful I am.”
Noel also thanked the UDR members who helped bring himself and Archie back home safety after the early morning incident.
As for Archie, the excitement was soon forgotten, but while the cold weather persisted, Noel decided to steer well clear of the park in case of a repeat performance.
“I took him up to Gordon Park instead, but when I brought him to Lurgan Park after the cold weather the first thing he did was run into the lake and chase the ducks,” he said.
And the footnote of the story was that Noel did get to thank the jogger who helped save Archie, well over a week later, when he again met Terence McCann in the park.