UK couple Dorothy and Colin Richardson were walking with their dog Pip along the Torver Back Common in Coniston when an accident happened. Colin lost his footing, and in an instant, Pip’s retractable leash slipped from his hand. Pip was spooked, really spooked, and took off running into the woods.
Pip’s disappearance was devastating, and after hours of searching, the Richardsons set off to get help. Posters were placed throughout the area and an organisation called Dog Lost was brought in for support. They had an idea, a brilliant idea, on where to find reinforcements.
The Coniston Mountain Rescue Team, an all volunteer search and rescue squad founded in 1947, was alerted to Pip’s disappearance. It just so happened that they had been planning a training exercise the next day and were all too happy to set off in search of Pip on what was now day four of her disappearance. Searchers with this unit are often asked to put themselves in harm’s way to find lost hikers, particularly when dangerous weather sets in and hypothermia can quickly claim a life. Fortunately for them, and for Pip, October nights here are cold but not truly treacherous.
“Details were taken from the owner as to where and when the dog was last seen or heard, as well as Pipís personality and useful traits,” †a Coniston Mountain Rescue Team spokesperson said. “Squeaky toys and treats seemed high on the agenda as good searching tools.”
The team split into two, one on the high route and the other working the shore path below, with the aim of joining at a rendezvous point. The teams employed one of their best search techniques, the line search, in which members of the teams walk in a line with equal distance between each searcher. Though the rough terrain made this challenging at times, maintaining formation is critical to the integrity of such a mission.
“When we met up, there had been no sign of Pip, so we decided to return to the Land Rovers but to first carry out one last long line search covering the open ground above the tree line,” the†Coniston Mountain Rescue Team representative continues. “And then we struck gold!”
“One of the team members saw what he thought were cat eyes, but they were in fact Pipís eyes. Her lead had been snagged in the bracken so although she could run around, she could not actually go very far. The relief and sheer amazement that we had actually found her was felt by everyone involved in the search.”
“She was well, just cold and hungry. The very excited little dog emptied her bowels on one member as a show of appreciation, before being carried back to the vehicles nestled in a jacket and fed the occasional ‘Cheesy Bite’ and dog biscuit along the way.”
Pip has been reunited with her grateful family.
Story brought to you by the Harmony Fund international animal rescue charity.
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