Rhian Westcott deliberately threw herself into the River Thames, only to be hauled to safety by a trained 13-stone Newfoundland dog – all in the name of charity.

Rhian Westcott and friend
Rhian Westcott and her NewFound friend.

Rhian, diets business manager at Dechra Veterinary Products, took the plunge as part of the PDSA Big Doggy Paddle fund-raiser.

The event was organised by NewFound Friends in partnership with the PDSA in memory of Whizz, a Newfoundland rescue dog that received the charity’s Order of Merit for his life saving work.

Life saving demo

Participants had to jump into the water at the Docklands Scout Project in London where one of five trained rescue dogs would demonstrate their life saving abilities.

Rhian said it was an amazing and worthwhile experience, adding: “It was quite a scary thing to do as it goes completely against your instincts, but I had to trust the dog and it was quite incredible to see them in operation.”


Dechra has donated £1,000 towards the fund-raising efforts.

PDSA, which provides free vet services for sick and injured animals belonging to people in need, was hoping to raise around £50,000 from the challenge to support its work.

The charity has to raise £60 million a year to run its services that help more than 470,000 pets every year.

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