RNLI helps reunite lost dog with owners after three days trapped in a cove

Lifeboats News Release

A dog has been rescued by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) after falling 150ft down a cliff and going missing for three days.

RNLI/Tom Dale

Woody is back in safe hands at Port Isaac RNLI boathouse. From left: Launch authority Richard Hambly, helm Matt Main, crew member Jon Wide, Jenny Pickles from Cornwall Search Dogs, crew member Ben Spicer, launch authority James Uglow

Woody the Sprocker Spaniel disappeared while on a walk with his owners on a coast path near Dannonchapel, north Cornwall.


Woody’s desperate owners spent more than 24 hours searching for their beloved pet but he was only eventually located two days later when a walker heard him barking and a local farmer used a drone to find him inside a steep-sided cove then raised the alarm.


The volunteer crew from Port Isaac RNLI had to navigate their D class inshore lifeboat through a large swell to reach the cove and Woody.


Crew member Ben Spicer said: ‘Woody gave us a good run around to start off with as he was understandably distressed, cold, tired and hungry.


‘It felt fantastic to get Woody out of there and back to his owners. I can only imagine how horrid it must have felt not knowing his circumstances over those days.’


Woody was returned to Port Isaac to be checked over by dog first aider Jenny Pickles from Cornwall Search Dogs. Jenny then took Woody to be reunited with his owners in Wadebridge in the evening of Monday 11 April.


‘It was absolutely horrendous. We were devastated because he’s only nine months old and we had no idea that we were ever going to see him again,’ said owner Jon.


‘We felt sick to the stomach going back without Woody. Then we had a phone call telling us that a dog had been heard barking down a cliff.


‘Words can’t express how delighted and overjoyed we were.


‘When we first saw him, he was so shell-shocked we had to sit calmly with him on the tailgate and just stroke him.

‘The whole thing is a miracle: it’s amazing that he survived the fall, the couple of nights alone and that he was rescued. How on earth?

‘We can’t thank the RNLI crew enough. We’ve always donated to the RNLI. I’ve been a Shoreline member for years and when my wife’s father died, we donated as well, never knowing that we would need them to rescue our dog.’

Praising the multi-agency effort in rescuing Woody, volunteer Ben added: ‘It was a great team effort with multiple organisations involved, Cornwall Search Dogs, DogLost Cornwall, Boscastle CG and the RNLI all working harmoniously and achieving a positive outcome. It could have very easily gone the other way for Woody.’

When visiting the coast with your dog the RNLI’s key safety advice is:

· Keep dogs on a lead if you’re close to cliff edges or fast flowing rivers.

· If your dog goes into the water or gets stuck in mud, don't go after them. Move to a place your dog can reach safely and call them.

· If you're worried about your dog, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard

With demand for its lifesaving services at a high, the RNLI is putting out its own ‘Mayday’ call, urging the public to take part in the Mayday Mile. Whether you choose to walk, jog, hop or skip, the Mayday Mile challenges you to cover at least one mile in any way you like between Saturday 1 and Tuesday 31 May, whilst raising vital funds for RNLI lifesavers so that they can continue to keep people safe at sea.

Sign up and find out more at RNLI.org/SupportMayday today.

Notes to editors

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RNLI/Tom Dale

Woody the Sprocker Spaniel

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 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and 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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