Daisy is stretchered from the mountain. Photo: Wasdale MRT

Daisy is stretchered from the mountain. Photo: Wasdale MRT

A large dog whose breed is best known as an Alpine rescue dog had herself to be rescued after collapsing while descending England’s highest mountain.

St Bernard dog Daisy got into difficulties in the Brown Tongue area of Scafell Pike late on Friday afternoon.

The four-year-old, who was in fact a rescue dog whose owner gave her a new home after a difficult early life, collapsed and was unable to continue.

Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team was alerted by police about 5.30pm. Richard Warren of the team said: “The team rescues canine casualties around a dozen times every year but this was the first time a St Bernard breed has been rescued by the team.

“The breed is recognisable by its sheer size. A typical male can range between 70-75cm [2ft 3ins-2ft 6ins] in height and between 63-81kg [10st-12st 11lbs].

“Fortunately, Daisy was a four-year-old female but still a massive dog. The breed is also known for its relationship with rescue in the mountains carrying a brandy barrel although alcohol and the great outdoors is not a recommended combination for many reasons.

“Daisy was in fact extremely placid and compliant which was a bonus for the stretcher-carry off the mountain. Displaying signs of pain in her legs and refusing to move, Daisy’s owners were able to keep her well hydrated and fed until team members arrived.

Daisy is recovering well from her ordeal. Photo: Wasdale MRT

Daisy is recovering well from her ordeal. Photo: Wasdale MRT

“It was important to get Daisy off the mountain quickly as the weather was due to deteriorate later that evening.”

While on their way to the location, the team sought several local vets’ advice about how to administer pain relief and how to handle the dog in such a stressful situation.

A team spokesperson said: “On reaching their location, team members carefully introduced themselves to Daisy so as not to cause any additional distress, and with the help of a treat or two members were able to assess her condition and administer analgesia for the pain.

“A few different tactics needed to be tried until both Daisy and her stretcher bearers were all satisfied and progress downhill could be made. It had become quickly apparent that Daisy’s co-operation was going to be essential if we were to make progress as Daisy made sure we knew that if she didn’t want to do something, she wasn’t going to do it.

“However, after a little persuasion and a bit of arranging the stretcher to become dog friendly and of course plenty more treats, the 55kg [8st 9lbs] Daisy very quickly settled down with her chin resting on the head guard, having realised that we were trying to help her.

“From there on, apart from the odd little adjustment, the evacuation was found to be not that much different to a normal adult evacuation which is of course is the bread and butter of our team, which we have done hundreds of times before.”

The team members wore personal protective equipment in line with Covid-19 protocols.

The spokesperson said: “The adorable Daisy has since been reported to have had a good night’s sleep, snoring a little louder than normal, but back to her usual high spirits this morning.

“She apparently feels a bit guilty and slightly embarrassed about letting down the image of her cousins bouncing across the Alpine snows with barrels of brandy around their necks.

“Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team would like to thank both West Lakeland Veterinary Group and Galemire Veterinary Hospital who got in touch and gave invaluable advice and support.

“Finally, a massive whole 55kg thank you to Daisy the St Bernard who was so well behaved throughout the whole rescue – the perfect casualty you could say.”

The five-hour rescue operation involved 16 team volunteers, ending about 10.30pm.

Wasdale MRT said it had dealt with seven incidents during the past week, with five happening since the Friday dog rescue. After the easing of lockdown, the number of incidents during July has returned to close to normal rates, with 51 this month compared to 56 last year in the same period.

  • Wasdale MRT YouTube footage of Daisy’s rescue

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