Man saves dog from sinking ship, then goes back for wife

Rosie, in a photo taken by owner Graham Anley, a few days before her rescue (Facebook)
Rosie, in a photo taken by owner Graham Anley, a few days before her rescue (Facebook)

When you hear about a man saving his dog from a sinking ship, it’s hard to not be moved by the tale of an animal lover’s heroism. But the story becomes slightly less heroic when you learn that the man saved his dog before his own wife.

But that’s apparently what happened when Graham Anley and his wife, Cheryl, found their yacht sinking after it hit a reef while on a voyage from East London to Madagascar.

National Sea Rescue Institute North London station commander Geoff McGregor said all three were wearing life jackets. The 9-year-old Jack Russell terrier named Rosie was wearing a tailored life jacket equipped with a strobe light beacon.

"As the incident happened Graham sent a Mayday radio distress call and activated the EPIRB (a GPS beacon) but they were immediately forced to abandon ship," McGregor said in an interview.

"He first swam Rosie ashore safely before returning for his wife, whose safety line had snagged on the steering gear," McGregor added.

The couple and their dog all made it out free of injury.

Graham, a longtime volunteer with the National Sea Rescue Institute, said it was "humbling to have the shoe on the other foot and need to be rescued."

Some details have yet to emerge. So, it's likely that Cheryl was in a position of relative safety and Rosie might have been in a more perilous position had she been left on the boat. The couple did not want to speak with the media about their rescue.

So, for now, it's left to readers to speculate about Graham's priorities during their ordeal.