Dog’s best friend: Wheelchair-bound Cape Town man saves his ‘big boy’ from drowning in pool

Cassius the 50kg Rottweiler fell into the family pool recently.

mans best friend

A Cape Town wheelchair-bound man saved his beloved dog from drowning in a touching show of team work, as he moved the frightened Rottweiler paw by paw to safety.

Rolling his wheelchair from side to side, while bending over and moving each paw one by one slowly along the edge of the pool, was a daunting but rewarding task for man and dog.

The black and tan dog, called Cassius, weighs about 50kg and can’t swim. After he fell into the swimming pool at the Bloubergstrand home, he had held on for dear life at the deep end.

Speaking to News24, 40-year-old owner Darren Thomas said Cassius must have been in the pool for about 30 minutes before he heard the whimpering of his beloved “big boy”.

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“Every morning Cassius would lay by my wife as she combs my daughter’s hair for school, but on that specific Thursday morning, he was nowhere near the room, which we found strange. But because of the morning rush and noise in the house, we just assumed he was outside running around,” he said.

Thomas said that after his wife and two kids left that morning, he was getting ready for work when he heard the cries of their family dog, adding:

I rolled my wheelchair to where the sounds were coming from, and I saw him holding onto the edge of the pool at the deep end. It’s not the first time he had fallen into the pool, but usually, there is always someone else at home with me to help him get out, but on that morning, it was just Cassius and me at home.

Of course, panic kicked in as Thomas had no idea how to get the animal out of the pool, considering he uses a wheelchair.

“He was already shivering inside the pool, and I had to get him out quick, as I had no idea how long he had already been inside the pool. He was standing on his hind legs for quite a long time, so I can imagine how stressed out he must have been.

“I called my wife to find out where she was as I needed help with the dog. She was 20 minutes away from the house. I couldn’t wait that long as I was afraid Cassius’ legs might give in and he’d drown,” said Thomas.

The only thing that came to mind was to try and move him paw by paw to the pool’s steps so he could climb out.

Gosh, he had so much faith in me as I moved his paw bit by bit to get him out. He kept looking at me with sad eyes, and I kept talking to him while moving him to let him know I’m here and we are going to sort the situation out soon.

Thomas said it took him about five to 10 minutes to get the heavy dog to safety.

“When he got out of the pool, it was like nothing happened, as he went on with his running around, rolling on the floor and barking. He’s not a fan of the water, he never has been. He doesn’t know how to swim or how to behave when he’s inside water, so it must’ve been very scary for him to be that long in the pool.”

According to the security company director, the pool was always covered, but on that day, it wasn’t.

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“What people don’t realise is that not all dogs can swim, or like the water. My previous Rottweiler also never liked the water and couldn’t swim, and I won’t force my dogs into the water if I know they don’t like it. My dogs are family, and just knowing Cassius is alright makes us happy,” Thomas said.

Thomas was stabbed in the head and shot in his chest 14 years ago in a house robbery, leaving him permanently disabled.

“The bullet missed my heart by one millimetre. It ruptured my lung and hit my spine, which caused the bone fragment to dismantle my spinal cords, resulting in me not being able to walk anymore,” he said.

Thomas said that he lives with more meaning, as he has been given a second chance in life.

“I was quite a fit young man back then when I wasn’t married and had no kids, but 14 years later, I live each day with more gratitude. Life is good.”

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