The story of a remarkable mountain rescue operation triggered by two dogs has been doing the rounds in the mainstream news and on social media since the incident occurred on Braithwaite How in the Lake District in late October.
A 71-year-old man was walking his dogs on the hill when he collapsed and became unconscious following an apparent seizure. Fortunately, the man had not long passed a fellow walker. One of the dogs, a black Labrador, pursued the woman and barked, drawing her attention towards its owner, who remained on the ground under the careful supervision of his loyal Golden Retriever.
The woman called 999 and Keswick Mountain Rescue Team sent 12 team members to reach the victim on foot, alongside assistance from the North West Ambulance Team. On climbing up to him, they found that he had regained consciousness. Following a medical assessment, the man was capable of walking down to an ambulance to be transported to hospital for further checks.
A spokesperson from the Keswick Mountain Rescue Team, told UKC:
"When I spoke to the passerby to understand what had happened, it seemed incredible that the dogs had done this. You occasionally hear stories of this sort of thing happening, so it's fantastic when it does."
While trained search and rescue dogs are commonplace in mountain rescue missions, it's unusual for domestic pets to show such instinct and initiative, Craig explained.
"Obviously SARDA dogs undergo years of training to achieve this skill level, but for untrained dogs to do this is just amazing. It just goes to show that you shouldn't underestimate our canine friends."
Occasionally, though, climbing canines are the ones who become unstuck and require a rescue.
Just a few weeks later at Coledale Hawes, also near Braithwaite, a sheepdog called Sam spent two nights down a mine after falling down an open stope. Cockermouth Mountain Rescue Team and the Cumbria Ore Mines Rescue Unit eventually found Sam nestled on a ledge 20 metres deep into the mine. The hungry dog was rewarded with a bag of crisps and a cereal bar by the team and returned to her owner.
In 2020, a 4-year-old, 55kg St Bernard dog named Daisy — a breed renowned for their rescue capabilities — found herself in a role reversal of sorts after she collapsed on the descent of Scafell Pike near Brown Tongue and required a 16-strong team of rescuers from Wasdale MRT to stretcher her down the hillside.
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