Prior to 1996
- "Meanwhile preparations are underway for a ceremony to acknowledge the heroes of the bridge disaster, who pulled victims from the river even while the bridge continued to crumble around them. None however have generated as much public warmth as Sam, the plucky puggle who dragged his unconscious owner half a mile down the river to safety, who is reported to become the first dog to win a medal for gallantry."
- —Jamie Wolpert, "Bridge disaster hits London" in The Guardian (July, 1996).[src]
Sam and his owner were on the bridge when the collapse took place. When both were thrown down into River Thames, the owner was left unconscious. Sam, then dragged him as he swam half a mile down the river, to safety. The Guardian later went on to report that Sam was reported to become the first dog ever to be honoured with a medal for gallantry.