Author: Bob Warwick
New Brighton’s lifeboat B-837 Charles Dibdin was launched at 11:15am at the request of HM Coastguard team to offer safety cover, while they tried to rescue a golden retriever from the Sandhills Islands Groyne, off from the Gunsight in Leasowe Bay.
As the lifeboat headed to the area it became apparent that the 3 year old golden retriever named Ben was walking with its owners on Leasowe Golf course and had slipped his lead. He decided to go for a swim and was well out from shore when the local Coastguard team arrived on site. He then managed to swim to the groyne and climbed on. The intention was that two Coastguards and possibly the dogs owner would walk along the groyne to recover Ben.
Sea conditions were calm with good visibility however the sea at this time of year is very cold and the tide was on the turn so he could easily have been swept out to sea.
Lifeboat crew Steve Hughes commented ‘ As we approached the groyne two of the Coastguards were getting near to Ben when he decided to jump back into the water, initially swimming towards us before changing his mind and swam away. We were in shallow water and our helmsman Dave Hicks concentrated on getting us in position without damaging the lifeboat. He managed to get us into a position where we could use our ‘dog pole’ and get the loop around Ben’s neck and pull him towards the boat. Myself and Paul Quest managed to lift the wet and heavy dog onto the lifeboat where we wrapped him up in a blanket. He was very cold and shivering but friendly and calm, obviously very relieved to get somewhere safe.’
As the Coastguards were on wet and slimy rock we got them onboard the lifeboat and returned to base.
On arrival at the lifeboat station at 11:50am Ben was reluctant to leave the lifeboat but eventually did so into the arms of his relieved owner. Apparently Ben was a rescue dog and had been with his present owners for less than a month.
Lifeboat Operations Manager Graham Sale commented after the rescue ‘ People may be surprised that our crews will go out to rescue animals, one of the key factors is the risk of the owners going into the water to attempt rescue themselves. If they do they are more likely to end up as casualties themselves and the animal gets back to land OK. Fortunately this rescue went well, the dog and owner happily reunited and our crew performance exemplary’.
Just heard from the dogs owner that Ben is now back home, happy and relaxed.