Monday 5 December 2016

Hooch the Pooch in dramatic cliff-top rescue at Howth Head

The 12-year-old boxer dog was winched to safety earlier today

Sarah-Jane Murphy

Published 10/01/2016 | 15:25

Hooch and his rescuer Kevin Morrissey on Howth Head today
Credit: Irish Coast Guard
Hooch and his rescuer Kevin Morrissey on Howth Head today Credit: Irish Coast Guard
Kevin is winched down towards Hooch Credit: Irish Coast Guard
Four members of the rescue team at Howth Head today Credit: Irish Coast Guard

A 12-year-old dog was left thanking his lucky stars today after the Irish Coast Guard came to his rescue on Howth Head.

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Boxer dog Hooch, aged 78 in dog years, slipped and fell approximately 15 metres into the water while out walking at the scenic spot.

Amazingly, he managed to clamber his way back up the rocks but became stranded on a ledge.

However, the brave dog's barks were heard by walkers and paddle boarders who in turn alerted the Coast Guard.

Kevin is winched down towards Hooch
Credit: Irish Coast Guard
Kevin is winched down towards Hooch Credit: Irish Coast Guard

A Coast Guard Rescue team from the Howth station happened to be nearby at the time and responded to the incident.

Meanwhile, paddle boarders on the water assisted the Coast Guard team with uncovering the dog's exact location.

Four members of the rescue team at Howth Head today
Credit: Irish Coast Guard
Four members of the rescue team at Howth Head today Credit: Irish Coast Guard

Robin Blandford of The Irish Coast Guard told Independent.ie that it's likely the dog chased a seagull and then became stranded on the ledge.

"We reckon that Hooch fell 15-metres into the water but managed to climb back up and wait to be rescued.

"He began to bark when the climber arrived.

"A younger dog could have become alarmed at the sight of the climber, and got into further difficulty, but Hooch was old enough and wise enough to stay put," Robin said.

He estimated that the rescue operation took between 15 and 30 minutes.

"We have carried out similar rescues of stranded dogs before, but not at that precise spot," he said.

It was decided to lift Hooch up to the top of the cliff rather than lower him downwards to a boat.

A rescue climber, Kevin Morrissey, was lowered down and an animal rescue bag was utilised to bring the stranded canine to safety.

The boxer dog was said to be slightly shaken by the ordeal but otherwise in good spirits.

 

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