When Belle, the one year old springer spaniel, set out for a leisurely walk with its owners, from Portballintrae to the Causeway, noone could know that, some three hours later, she would be the centre of a dramatic Coastguard rescue.
The alarm was raised on Friday evening just after 2215, when the unfortunate animal disappeared over the cliff, coming to rest about 50 feet down a 250 foot cliff. After two hours of fruitless coaxing, the owners called for Coastguard assistance and personnel from Coleraine and Ballycastle Coastguard Rescue Teams were tasked to assist.
A spokesperson for Coleraine Coastguard said “Rescuing a human from such a precarious position would be difficult enough: rescuing a frightened little dog in the dark is altogether a more challenging experience.
A Coastguard Rope Rescue Technician was lowered to the anxious canine, and the delicate business of coaxing her into our special dog rescue bag began. Eventually she was secured and winched to the top of the cliff, where both dog and rescuer were warmly welcomed by her relieved owners.
As Belle disappeared into the darkness, accompanied by a Coastguard escort, the moral of this tale/tail becomes very clear: if you are taking your dog for a walk on a cliff path, please keep your pet on a lead. Belle was lucky: many of her canine predecessors have been much less fortunate.
If your dog does go over the cliff, DO NOT attempt a rescue: instead Dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.”
Image Credit : Coleraine Coastguard