A DEVASTATED dog owner has told how her frantic attempts to break the ice on the frozen River Tyne and save her dog were in vain.

Stephanie Scott, 33, and her 13-year-old son Gary Yuill were walking their Staffordshire bull terrier-lurcher crosses Roger and Bruno near Haddington’s Nungate Bridge at about 8.30am on Saturday.

A ball thrown for the dogs inadvertently ended up on the ice – leading to both pets running onto the frozen river.

Stephanie told the Courier: “The two dogs chased it and Bruno came back with the ball.

“Roger had fallen through the ice and we could not get to him and he was panicking. It all went quite fast really and we could not reach him.

“I decided I would jump in but I could not get him up.

“He kept going under the water and I could not break the ice to get to him.

“Pretty much after that, I was trying to break the ice to get to him and then he just disappeared.”

Without a thought for her own safety, Stephanie braved the icy waters fully clothed, including her pyjama bottoms. She was later treated for hypothermia.

A fire service water rescue team arrived on the scene and searched the river. . . and found Roger’s body.

Usually, the family would take the four-and-a-half-year-old dogs for a walk at Lennoxlove but decided to go down to the river to see the ice.

After parking on The Sands, they walked up to the grass verge beside the river to the rear of the former Peter Potter Gallery.

Stephanie said: “Roger is such a strong swimmer as well. They are always in the water; my dog walker has been to visit us and she said she would never think they would not be able to get out of the water.

“They chase balls and swim underwater. It has just been so cold for him that it has been too much.

“I didn’t even feel the cold when I jumped in, it was just adrenaline and panic.”

A member of the public phoned the emergency services, with specialist water rescue teams from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service attending.

Stephanie thanked the emergency services for their help, with Roger later recovered from the water and buried by the family.

The mum-of-four said Bruno had not been himself since the incident.

She said: “Bruno has been really quiet and missing his brother tremendously.

“He just sits at the window and looks at the gate. He will not leave my side and is crying at night.

“He is definitely wondering where Roger is and that is the hardest part.

“We can all take in the fact that he is not coming back but how do you tell a dog that?”

Stephanie said son Gary had been “pretty upset” since the incident.

She added: “He was there and is 13 and he has been quite upset.

“His job is to walk the dogs every day and he has spent quite a lot of time with the dogs.”

Stephanie, along with partner Alastair Park, have had the dogs since they were just six weeks old and they have become part of the family’s home at St Martin’s Place in Haddington.

Stephanie, who is on maternity leave from her job at the town’s Health and Beauty Centre, thanked everyone for their efforts to save Roger and for their well wishes.

She said: “I just want to let people know how thankful I am.

“I have had hundreds and hundreds of wishes and flowers delivered and I’m just overwhelmed by the amount of people that I don’t even know who have sent me flowers, which is just so nice.”

Firefighters from Haddington were joined by specialist water rescue teams from Galashiels and Edinburgh’s Marionville station and spent nearly three hours on the scene.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service told the Courier: “The service were alerted at 8.59am on Saturday to reports of a woman and a dog in the River Tyne in Haddington.

“Operations control mobilised a water rescue team to The Sands area, where firefighters found the woman out of the water but the dog was stuck under the ice.

“Crews searched the river and embankments and managed to locate the dog but sadly it had passed away.

“Firefighters left the scene after ensuring the area was made safe.”

Ward councillor Tom Trotter described the accident as “tragic”.

Mr Trotter, who has a boxer called Bruno, said: “Dogs are a very big part of the family, and the family will be devastated.

“We all walk our dogs and you would never contemplate anything like that happening.”

Iain Gray, East Lothian’s MSP, similarly praised emergency services for their efforts.

He said: “The river walk is a fabulous one for people and dogs – all the guide dog puppies I have helped to train love it.

“However, this tragic incident shows just how dangerous the Tyne can be, especially in winter conditions.”

He added that it was vital “never to walk or let dogs walk on ice”.