A volunteer rescue team has saved a dog from near-certain death after a walker spotted it on a Yorkshire Dales fell.
The woman was walking near Buckden Pike on Saturday when she spotted the dog, alone, near the memorial cross that commemorates the crash of a Wellington bomber during the Second World War.
She rang the police today and the Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association was called out to go to the animal’s aid.
Andy Jackson, team leader, said eight members went up on to the fell, 690m (2,264ft) up on the southern end of the fell’s summit ridge.
He said it was likely the dog had been there for some time. It was close to the summit wall and not easy to spot.
“Where it was, wasn’t far from where most people walk if they’re following the path on the map,” he said. “The problem was it was so camouflaged it was probably hard to see.
“But a woman spotted it about 3.30pm on Saturday. She’d been walking up there.
“I think she’d been thinking about it all Saturday night and decided to ring the police this morning, and that’s when we got the call.
“It was next to the wall. Fortunately for the dog, it was on the side that was protected from the worst of the weather.
“It wasn’t tethered, though it did have a collar on.”
He said the animal had obviously been there for some time. He believed it was either a whippet cross or some type of lurcher.
“When we eventually moved it, we put it into a casualty bag and on to the stretcher, the actual grass had started to die where it had been sitting, so it must have been there at least two days.
“He was happy to see us. He just had nothing in him. There was a lot of bone. I know they’re a thin dog, but it looked like it hadn’t eaten for a few days.
“I don’t think it would have been able to stand up to be honest.
“It was definitely some sort of dog that was used for rabbiting. It has a couple of scars above its nose, so it looks like it has been in a few scrapes.
Mr Jackson said the dog made no attempt to escape and, although the team approached it with caution, it was not aggressive.
“It was quite happy to be picked up, kept warm and seemed to quite enjoy its trip down in the stretcher,” he said.
“It made no attempt to get off the stretcher. It just seemed quite happy.”
The eight members stretchered the dog to the team’s vehicles on the Walden Road track near the village of Starbotton in Wharfedale.
“We carried the dog down to the vehicles. I’m guesstimating we probably walked just over a mile to the vehicles.
“It was all in cloud – it was pretty miserable today.
“We took him to Grassington then within about a quarter of an hour someone came round from some kennels in the village and they took him.
“I don’t think the police have had any calls from anyone to say they’ve lost a dog.
“It’s a strange place for it to be. The nearest road, across the fell, is probably the top of Park Rash, which is a fair distance away.”
It was the 40th callout of the year for the Grassington-based team, whose volunteers go to the aid of walkers and cavers on the fells and in the potholes of the eastern Yorkshire Dales.
- Update: the dog has been examined and found to have a broken leg but has started eating and drinking. The dog’s collar had no contact details on it.