The two youngsters must have thought they were doomed after becoming stranded on rocks off the coast of Cambois, on the northeast coast of England, on August 13. (For the record, I have walked on the beach in this area several times, and it is always unremittingly cold and windy).
The anxious owners of Tootsie and Lucky, the two ferrets, had made desperate attempts to save their animals from the rapidly rising tide by wading into the sea and offering them food, but neither Tootsie nor Lucky responded.
They made a desperate 999 call to the Humber coastguard, who immediately contacted the lifeboat from Newbiggin, the closest lifeboat station. Once on scene, volunteer Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) lifeboat crew Mark Callan and Peter Leslie waded to the shore and began to decide how to deliver a successful outcome from such an unusual rescue scenario.
They found Tootsie and Lucky minutes away from drowning. Since the ferrets had declined offers of food, it was up to the lifeboat volunteers to use their animal skills to lure the ferret pair to safety.
From The Northern Echo:
Mark Callan volunteer lifeboat crewmember at Newbiggin commented “the RNLI train us to stay calm in difficult situations and we were able to calm the anxious owners and this probably helped pacify ‘Tootsie’ and ‘Lucky’ enabling them to be lifted safely from their rocky ledge hide out.”
Pauline Cooksey Newbiggin Lifeboat Operations Manager said “Newbiggin lifeboat have rescued animals before including dogs and we are always there to save a life be it human or animal. This is definitely a first for Newbiggin’s 162 year history and probably the first ferret rescue in lifeboat history.”
The all-volunteer RNLI, “the charity that saves lives at sea,” is a household name in the UK, synonymous with dramatic and courageous rescues in all types of bad weather situations. Volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland from 236 lifeboat stations.
Last week, for example, some 17 people, including children and their instructors, were rescued by the Sligo Coastguard after a swell caused their boats to capsize. The group members were on five small sailing dinghy boats: four of the boats capsized and one managed to make it safely to shore.
The RNLI swung into action and rescued the entire group of humans.
However, in this case, for the first time in the 162-year history of the RNLI, it was ferrets who needed to be rescued.
Now the question is: how did those pet ferrets get onto those rocks in the first place?
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