A DOG owner who nearly drowned trying to save her beloved pooch wants to thank the three mystery women who came to their rescue.

Maureen Wick was walking her dogs Penny and Copper and feeding the ducks by the River Great Ouse, at Godmanchester recreation ground last Wednesday morning, when she noticed Penny's harness looked loose.

As the 67-year-old great-grandmother rushed forward to adjust it, she and Penny, a 16-year-old Yorkshire terrier, fell into the water. Although unable to find her footing, Mrs Wick's first thoughts were for Penny, who recently suffered a stroke, has dementia and can no longer see in one eye.

The retired cleaner, who lives in New Street, said: “I could see the harness was coming off her neck. The bit that was supposed to be around her body went right up to the top of her head. I ran towards her to grab hold of her and I went in.

“I was on my side and was wearing a heavy winter coat and boots. I could feel their weight pulling me down. I just kept thinking 'My dog is dead.'

“I tried to get to my feet but I couldn't because of all the mud. I was looking all around for Penny, and then she was right by my side.

“She just popped up. I reached over and grabbed hold of her.

“I tried to grab a bit of grass on the river bank but it came away in my hands. I felt all along the river bank and I got hold of a bit of ivy.

“I shouted and shouted 'Help me.' Nobody could have seen me but, as luck would have it, three ladies, who must have been walking towards the Chinese bridge, heard me. If they hadn't come, I would have drowned.”

After insisting the three rescuers take Penny first, Mrs Wick was helped onto dry ground.

Husband Jeff, 67, who was waiting for his wife in a nearby car park, realised something was wrong when he spotted one of the women with his wife's dog.

The couple left quickly to return home, and Mrs Wick is keen to offer her thanks to the trio.

Mrs Wick said: “It was so quiet. I do not know where they came from. I didn't recognise any of them.

“If it weren't for them, I wouldn't have been here. There must have been a guardian angel that day.”

INFORMATION: Mrs Wick is appealing for her rescuers to get in touch through The Hunts Post by calling 01480 443451 or by e-mail to news@huntspost.co.uk