Thursday, August 07, 2014

Tweeting Irish terrier unscathed after falling 300ft off cliff

A "tweeting" dog has survived unscathed after falling 300ft (91m) from a cliff and into the Atlantic Ocean. Vimes the Irish terrier, who already had his own Twitter account before the accident that took place on Sunday on the Irish coast at Dunlicky, County Clare. Vimes is the pet of two newlyweds - a journalist and a blogger. The groom set up the dog's Twitter account in 2012. The couple were on honeymoon in Italy when their pet fell at Lookout Point during a walk with the bride's parents. Her family contacted the emergency services, fearing that Vimes would drown, and the Irish Coast Guard came to the dog's rescue.

Vimes' owners, Deirdre O'Shaughnessy and Brian Stokes from County Cork, had recently taken the plunge themselves and were still on honeymoon in Florence when they were told about the cliff-edge drama. Ms O'Shaughnessy said her parents had taken both Vimes and their own pet dog for a walk at Lookout Point, but Vimes' lead slipped out of her father's hand and the dog disappeared. She said there was a 15 second delay between her parents realising that Vimes had gone missing and hearing a splash, as he fell into the water below the cliff.

The Irish Coast Guard's marine rescue sub centre in County Kerry was alerted to the accident at about 3:40pm and sent a volunteer lifeboat crew from nearby Kilkee to search for the missing dog. The officer in charge of the unit in Kilkee, Martoni Vaughan, said Lookout Point is the highest part of the cliffs and the terrier had fallen from ledge to ledge before dropping a long way into the sea. The Kilkee crew spotted Vimes about 40 minutes after the emergency call was received. Mr Vaughan said the dog had managed to swim onto rocks. Two of the crew members then used kayaks to reach the rocks and lifted the terrier into the lifeboat, which brought him to shore. The rescue operation ended by 5:35pm.

Mr Vaughan said Vimes appeared none the worse for his ordeal and added that the family had described the dog as "a bit of an adventurer". His owners adopted him about three years ago, after visiting Limerick Animal Welfare sanctuary. Ms O'Shaughnessy said at the time Vimes was "emaciated" and appeared very quiet and still, compared to the other rescue dogs that were barking loudly at visitors. The couple have no idea of their pet's age or why he ended up in an animal sanctuary in such a poor state of health. She said when they brought Vimes home it took him a few months to come out of his shell, but she added that he is now quite "a character" with a "very strong personality" that eventually inspired his own dedicated Twitter account. Ms O'Shaughnessy also expressed her thanks to the Irish Coast Guard and said that although the service was not intended for dogs, she was grateful to them for going "above and beyond" the call of duty.

No comments: