DOZENS of dogs raised thousands for a search and rescue organisation after taking part in an all day swimathon.

Approximately 30 dogs had a paddle at K9 Aquacise & Hydrotherapy, Romsey, and raised £3,947 for Hampshire Search and Rescue Dogs.

The furry friends were tasked to swim 40 lengths in ten minute slots, while owners of the pooches were required to come with sponsorship forms to demonstrate they had raised money from family and friends.

Owner of K9 Aquacise & Hydrotherapy, Pam Stokes, said: "One of our oldest search and rescue dogs was Zak, who is 11-years-old, and his owner raised the most money. The fastest swimmer hamper went to Gracie while Archie, who is 13-years-old, did 28 lengths in ten minutes in the 'oldie' category.

"It is the first year we have done this and I think we will be making it an annual event, because the team have set a target of £50,000 to buy an dog welfare vehicle. This will allow dogs to get warm, dry and have a rest before they go out again and we have just bought a control vehicle as well.

"There were quite a lot of people at the swimathon, as each dog had at least one owner with them and there were children who wanted to see their dogs swim."

The 45-year-old said she was "amazed" to have raised so much money, as she expected to get close to £2,000 instead.

The first dog of the day swam at 8.30am and the last pooch dived in at 6.10pm.

Pam, from North Baddesley, said: "It was a long day and it was quite stressful for me, but we did have a running total throughout the event that we kept updated on a white board.

"People brought dogs mainly from Romsey, but we had some who came from Hayling Island as well."

Hampshire Search and Rescue Dogs is a voluntary organisation that provides nationally qualified search dog teams to support the emergency services when looking for vulnerable missing people.

They work across Hampshire, Dorset, Sussex and Surrey.