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Wednesday, 24 July, 2002, 09:56 GMT 10:56 UK
Todd's 10 mile doggy paddle
Todd the labrador Pic: Solent News
Todd is back in the swim after his ordeal
Todd the dog proved his loyalty to his master when he fell overboard from a yacht and determinedly swam 10 miles in the direction of home.

The two-year-old Labrador was feared dead when he disappeared from the deck of Peter Loizou's boat a mile off the Isle of Wight.

Mr Loizou spent four frantic hours searching the choppy seas for his pet but finally gave up hope of ever seeing him again.

Peter Loizou with Todd Pic: Solent News
Owner Peter Loizou thought he had lost Todd forever

But he had not reckoned on Todd's doggedness.

The plucky hound had already struck for the shore across the busy shipping lane of the Solent, battling against offshore winds pushing him in the opposite direction.

And instead of heading for the Isle of Wight - just a mile away - Todd's homing instinct made him take the much longer route to safety.

Then, not content with just reaching dry land, the dog made for his New Forest home, taking a detour up the River Beaulieu.


I was so pleased to see him, he is like a child to me

Peter Loizou
Todd's owner

Ten miles and six hours of doggy paddling later, an exhausted Todd clambered up the river bank at the village of Beaulieu - just eight miles from his home in Winsor, near Cadnam.

He was found by a 16-year-old boy and taken to police who scanned his microchip and reunited him with his stunned and relieved owner.

Businessman Mr Loizou, 35, said it was an "absolute miracle" that he survived.

Fitness

"He swam across the waves, across the currents to get home," he said.

"I was so pleased to see him, he is like a child to me.

"It's incredible that he managed to avoid the busy boat traffic in the area but he is a very fit dog.

"I do a lot of charity runs and half marathons with Todd and he is a working gun dog.

"Obviously because of his fitness he survived but the vet who examined him said she was amazed he had swum so far."

The route Todd the labrador took after falling in the sea near the Isle of Wight

Mr Loizou said Todd normally wore a life jacket when he was on the 40ft boat but it had been taken off because the dog was hot.

The car dealer and property developer said he was "devastated" when he realised his pet had gone overboard.

"I contacted the harbour master who searched but I then thought, realistically he has drowned.

"I turned back devastated, thinking I never want to go on the boat again."

Mr Loizou said he would now make sure Todd always had his life jacket on, and urged other boat owners with pets to do the same.

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 ON THIS STORY
Todd's owner Peter Loizou
"He saw the Red Funnel (ferry) and followed it"

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25 Jan 02 | Scotland
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