Video: Heroic rower rescues stranded Shih Tzu puppy midway through sea challenge

Simon Garner
Yahoo! News

Extreme rower Charlie Head halted a gruelling 600 mile challenge to rescue a small Shih Tzu dog which was stranded on rocks.

Charlie, 33, was on his paddle board when he spotted the puppy moments from death.

The dog - called Bam Bam - was stuck on rocks amid rising tides and Charlie saw he was in trouble as he rowed passed.

Charlie spotted the desperate pup as he rounded Hampton, off the Kent coast, in choppy seas.

He paddled as hard as he could to grab the poor puppy who was waist high in water as the relentless tide came pouring in.

Charlie plucked him to safety just in time and placed him on the paddle-board before taking him back to shore.

The heroic rower even captured the miraculous rescue - on his helmet camera.

Charlie, from the Isle of Wight said: "I was gobsmacked. I couldn't believe my eyes. He was just sat there wondering what the hell to do. He was absolutely terrified.

"In about ten minutes the rock would have been covered with water. I managed to paddle out to him and then get him on my board.

"He was terrified when I picked him up but I think he soon realised I was trying to help. And when he felt safe he snuggled up between my legs and we headed back to shore.

"It is incredible that he was able to get out there - this is not a big tough dog. It is the sort of animal people carry around in their handbags."

Charlie rescued Bam Bam on Monday as he rowed from Cornwall to London to train for a 3,000-mile cross-Atlantic trip.

He began his amazing challenge in July, setting off from Land's End and rowing as far as he could ever day before sleeping rough or with friends each night.

After spotting Bam Bam on rocks, Charlie can be heard saying 'he's just sat out there like a little dude, wondering what to do'.

Bam Bam was taken to a nearby pub Hampton Inn pub, where landlord Stuart MacKenzie took the unlikely mariner under his wing and barmaid Chelsea Clark wrapped him up.

Chelsea said: "He was stranded on the furthest rock out. He would definitely have drowned as there was no way to get back and the tide was coming in.

"We were calling him Pebbles until the dog warden look at his microchip and found out his real name.

"If they can't trace the owner I am going to keep him. Poor Bam-Bam."

Canterbury City Council spokesman Rob Davies said: "We are trying to contact the owner. For the meantime Bam-Bam is safe at the Lord Whisky Animal Sanctuary."

Charlie plans to arrived in London on Monday but hopes to row across the Atlantic in two months' time.

He added: "It was great to help the little dog hopefully the good deed will bring me a little luck and help me complete the rest of the challenges."