Caister lifeboatmen rescue dog from freezing North Sea
10:34 24 August 2014
Caister lifeboatmen have been praised for saving the life of an adventurous dog that swam a quarter of a mile out to sea.
Ruby the water-loving Labrador, who lives with owners Ann and Norman Hughes in Filby, prompted a full scale rescue off Caister beach this morning.
The four-year-old dog often goes swimming on a long lead but went further than her family expected after she slipped her collar, sending them into a panic as she swam further and further out into the freezing North Sea.
The fast actions of Caister Volunteer Lifeboat Service ensured a happy ending for Ruby, who is now back at home with a jumbo sausage and a warm, dry bed.
“We kept calling her and calling her but she didn’t turn around,” said Mrs Hughes.
The couple’s daughter Trudy, who was visiting from Norwich, called the coastguard on 999 when Ruby started to disappear from view. Her sons, Edward, 15, and Harry, 13, ran to Caister lifeboat shed at the same time to summon help.
“We had everyone, even the holidaymakers, running along the beach shouting and whistling her. I don’t know how much longer she would have survived out there, it was really cold.
“We can’t thank everyone who helped enough. They were wonderful.
“Because of the drama we missed lunch so we ended up getting fish and chips from the shop. My eldest told the staff in there what had happened and when we eventually got home we found a jumbo sausage marked ‘For the dog’.”
Caister lifeboatman Andy Hewitt, who crewed the Inshore Lifeboat with Tommy Williams, received the call-out at 12.50pm and by 1.03pm had brought Ruby back to shore.
He said the dog managed to swim a quarter of a mile out before being picked up.
Warning dog owners and passers-by not to enter the water to rescue animals, Andy Miles, trainee watchman from Caister National Coastwatch Institute, added: “I was up in the tower when I saw someone running along the beach, pointing out to the water but I couldn’t see what it was. Then I heard someone shout that there was a dog in the water.
“We saw people going out in dinghies to try and help. Our advice is always to leave it to the coastguard; they will be there as quickly as possible. The tide is very strong and the wind can carry anything. It is a risk to try and rescue a pet yourself and we could end up having to save them as well.”
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