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The rescuer who drowns can result from the attempted rescue of a human or an animal. We report here a total population analysis of all drowning fatalities for the 14-year period 1–July-2002 to 30-June-2016 which involved an attempted rescue of an animal. Cases were drawn from the Royal Life Saving National Fatal Drowning Database, which in turn, derived its data primarily from the National Coronial Information System (NCIS). Eight people drowned, all adults (ranging in age from 19-74 years), in the attempted rescue of an animal. Seven of the animals were domestic pet dogs, and in two cases farm animals. Six of the eight fatalities occurred in inland waterways. The AVIR-A syndrome, the ‘Aquatic Victim Instead of Rescuer– Animal’ (AVIR-A) drowning syndrome, is a subset of the AVIR drowning syndrome. Environmental design and regulation are unlikely to prevent this type of fatality. Public awareness, with emphasis on non-contact rescue training should be the approach taken.