Hold your breath when you watch this video, your nerves won’t stand it if you don’t.
The video of a man rescuing a dog trapped on an outcrop of rocks on a flooded causeway below Bell Park Dam in the Drakensberg's Champagne Valley, in KwaZulu-Natal, has drawn widespread admiration for the hero whose courage almost certainly saved a dog’s life.
The man, Amos Ndlovu, is nonchalant about the attention it’s drawn, saying he simply saved the dog because he has two of his own and he loves them "like I love myself".
The video footage, shot by Champagne Valley resident Stella Stewart, first shows the dog being washed down the causeway below the dam wall. The rushing water carries the frightened pooch to some rocks below. In the next clip, Ndlovu, holding a rope anchored by Stewart's husband James on the bank nearby, carefully braves the torrent and makes his way steadily to the rocks in the middle of the strong-flowing stream. He climbs onto the rocks and manages to reach over to where the scared dog waits, picking it up and cradling it in his arms to negotiate his way back through the water to dry land.
Stewart said the video was shot on Saturday morning. She said the dam was almost full after a 50 mm downpour the night before. "It's the first time in three years the dam has overflowed."She told The Witness that the dog’s owner was walking across the dam wall when the dog followed him and was washed over the edge. She said as the dog started crossing the dam wall, she saw what was happening and started filming.
Fortunately, however, the dog made it onto the rocks. James Stewart who had also watched the doggie drama ran home to get some rope and returned with Amos Ndlovu, who bravely entered the swiftly flowing water.
Speaking to The Witness on Wednesday, Ndlovu said he really loves dogs and had to help the stricken pup.
“I wasn’t scared because swimming was my favourite thing to do when I was young. The water was flowing too fast but my knowledge of the water helped me. If you walk, you must walk slowly, slowly.
“If a dog is crying, it’s because he wants to be alive. I tried to help. I’m so happy. Some people would say if he’s stuck and he dies, he dies. I wanted to give him a second chance. He wanted to live.”
Asked how the dog reacted to him when he got to it, he said it was fine initially.
“If you are in trouble, you’ll wait for anyone to help you. It was so worried. It wasn’t even barking.”
But, once on dry land the cheeky dog gave him a hard time.
Ndlovu laughed as he recalled that when he had put the dog down, “he started fighting with me”.
It was happy endings all round as the frightened dog was returned to his owner who lives near to the dam. But, not before another river crossing, helped by Amos and a piece of rope.