Meet the pawsome new stars of the RNLI’s dog safety campaign

Lifeboats News Release

On Monday 30 July, the RNLI are revealing the stars of their new dog safety campaign in the south west #RNLITopDog which aims to inform dog owners about keeping themselves and their dogs safe while walking on the coast.

The #RNLITopDog campaign ran at the Royal Cornwall Show and offered dog owners the chance for their canine companions be featured in the RNLI’s new dog safety messages. Each dog had their photograph taken which was then superimposed with a safety message for owners to follow.

294 dogs were photographed at the Royal Cornwall Show with Dash, a cavalier king Charles; Buddy, a cockapoo; and Louie, a collie cross, chosen as the top dogs. Dash, Buddy and Louis will be featured in RNLI dog safety posters that will be put out across RNLI social media channels in the south west throughout the school summer holidays.

Not only did the Royal Cornwall Show provide the opportunity to find these doggy stars but also allowed the RNLI to spread their key messages about dog safety to visitors to the stand.

Simon Rafety, Buddy’s owner, said:

‘Seeing the RNLI stand at the Royal Cornwall Show was the perfect opportunity to get involved with a great cause – especially as we live in the south west. There are so many beautiful walks all around our region but there are some really dangerous spots within them which is why the RNLI’s safety messages are so important.’

On Tuesday 17 June, the three dogs along with their owners visited Port Isaac RNLI lifeboat station to meet the crew and hear their stories of dog rescues.

Bob Bulgin, Port Isaac RNLI chairman, said:

‘It was fantastic to meet Dash, Buddy and Louie and their owners. Almost half of the incidents the Port Isaac volunteer RNLI lifeboat crew have dealt with this year were dog related so this was a great opportunity for the crew here to share their stories and spread the dog safety messages – especially with the busy summer season about to start.’

Neil Bennett, Louie’s owner, said:

‘We’ve always supported the RNLI and love taking Louie to the beach. If we do take him for a walk along the cliffs we make sure to always follow the RNLI’s advice’

Simon Hannaford, RNLI Community Safety Officer, said:

‘When a pet does in get into trouble, often the owners want to try and help them but, by doing so, put themselves into danger. In 2015, 119 dog walkers were rescued around the UK coastline. If you are worried about your dog at all, do not hesitate to call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.’

Dash, Buddy and Louie will now be helping us to spread these messages about how to stay safe with your dog around the coast in the south west.

The first campaign picture, featuring Dash, will start going out across social media on Monday 30 July and asks dog walkers to ‘take the lead’. The RNLI advises to always keep your dog on a lead when walking close to cliff edges. If they fall, do not go after them.

In the second campaign picture, Buddy will be reminding dog owners to enjoy their time at the coast but to always remember to check the tide times and weather conditions before you set out. When you are out walking with your dog, carry a means of calling for help and keep it protected and attached to you at all times.

Lastly, Louie will be advising dog owners what to do if their dog does get into trouble at the coast. If your dog does swim out too far, do not go after them. Move to a place they can get to safely and call them – most will get back by themselves. If you are worried about your dog at the coast, dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

Simon continues:

‘It’s great to have our furry friends on board with this campaign and keep an eye out for their faces across social media throughout the summer. Please share their posts to spread these messages throughout the south west and remember that we think you’re a Top Dog, don’t risk your life.’

Notes to Editors

· Photos attached:

1 – The first campaign picture: Dash asking dog owners to ‘take the lead’

2 – Port Isaac volunteer RNLI crew members Nicki Bradbury, George Cleave, Mark Grills with Dash, Buddy and Louie

3 – Dash, Buddy and Louie with their owners and members of the Port Isaac volunteer RNLI lifeboat crew

4 – Dash, Buddy and Louie with their owners and their campaign pictures and Bob Bulgin, Port Isaac RNLI Chairman, and Chris Bolton, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Port Isaac

  • Instagram accounts for our top dogs: @paws4plastic (Louie) and @buddyeyebrows (Buddy)

RNLI media contacts

For more information contact Jessica Putt, Media Engagement Placement, at or Amy Caldwell, Regional Media Manager, at

RNLI/Jessica Putt

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.