A teenage lifeguard from Enniskillen used her lifesaving skills to rescue a dog from Lough Erne after it got into trouble in the water last week.

Niamh O’Kane (17) had been out for a run by the Lakeland Forum in Enniskillen on Wednesday, May 6 when she noticed that a Golden Retriever had got caught up in a rope whilst swimming in the lough.

Niamh told this newspaper: “Wednesday morning I was just cycling down to the Forum to go for a run as I’m part of the Enniskillen Running Club and I just took a seat at one of the picnic benches like loads of other people enjoying the sun.

“There was a couple that had come over to throw a ball into the lough for their Golden Retriever and the dog got caught in a rope about 20 metres out in the lough and was stuck for about 10 minutes.”

She explained that the couple and other people around were starting to panic. “They were talking about calling the water rescue. I’m a trained life guard and I’ve been a competitive swimmer for 10 years so I couldn’t just sit and watch the dog drown,” said Niamh. Niamh then ran over to the owner and told him that she was a trained lifeguard. I volunteered to go into the lough and get his dog. He was very appreciative so I just pulled off my jumper and swam over and released the dog. The couple and other people around were very thankful,” she shared.

Talking about the moment, Niamh said: “I was a bit panicked and especially being lifeguard trained, I didn’t want to sit and not go over.”

The dog was owned by former Chief Executive of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council Brendan Hegarty.

Mr. Hegarty made contact with Niamh via the Council to thank her for her intervention.

“I only completed my lifeguard training about a year ago and just recently got a job at the Lakeland Forum, so I hadn’t used my skills before but now that I’ve done it once, there’ll be no hesitation in the future,” Niamh told this newspaper.