A FAMILY have been left devastated after their beloved dog drowned in a fishing lodge less than a month after winning a top award.
Shadow, a four-year-old Dalmatian, drowned in the lodge off Brookside Lane in the Stanhill area of Oswald-twistle.
Tragedy struck while Shadow was out for a walk with her owner Julie Burton, 26, of Southwood Drive, Baxenden, and Julie’s other dog Flame, who is Shadow’s daughter.
While walking near the lodge, both dogs jumped in for a swim but only Flame came out of the water.
As Julie watched, it became clear Shadow was unable to move her back legs which seemed to have got tangled in some fishing wire.
Julie said: "She just couldn’t move her back legs at all and although I tried calling her to the side, she just couldn’t get out.
"I couldn’t go in after her as I have a chest infection so I just panicked and tried to find something to get her out like a lifebelt.
"In most lodges you see safety equipment nearby but I couldn’t find anything to use, so I had to call the Fire Brigade."
Julie said that by the time officers had arrived on the scene Shadow had slipped under the water and drowned.
Shadow first featured in the Observer after winning a Bronze Road Dog award following her performance at the Craven country ride trials in Skipton.
There, she showed off her skills by guiding buggies along a 10km track and was set to take part in national trials in Birmingham in July.
Julie, who lives with her husband Anthony and children Sebastian, two, and eight-month-old Amelia, is now calling for more safety equipment to be put around lodges in the area.
She said: "It could have been a child that drowned in there. There are four lots of water in the Stanhill area but there was no life-saving equipment at all.
"It took nearly 20 minutes to get help, by which time it was too late. We have lost a member of our family and we want to ensure that no-one else does.
"There are public footpaths all around each area of water up there and it is madness not to have some sort of rescue equipment."
It is not clear who mantains the area but Hyndburn Council confirmed it was not its land and it is believed to be privately owned.
Hyndburn dog warden Steve Woods said: "In my eight years on the job, I have only come across two cases where a dog has drowned like this.
"Obviously if the owner had to watch her dog drown then that is very tragic and I really feel for her."