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Lowestoft RNLI Lifeboat crew rescue dog stranded half a mile out to sea

Lifeboats News Release

A runaway dog that became exhausted after swimming a half mile out to sea was rescued by the lifeboat crew from Lowestoft

'Willow' with her rescuer Deputy 2nd Coxswain Nigel Lyman

RNLI/Michael Howes

Grateful dog "Willow' with her rescuer Deputy 2nd Coxswain Nigel Lyman

The alarm had been raised by a lady who was sitting in the café on the seafront and saw what she thought was a seal’s head in the sea. A couple who had been following the runaway dog after spotting her alone, dodging traffic on a busy road nearby, still wearing a collar and harness - confirmed that the animal had gone into the sea.

The lady called 999 and directed the lifeboat to where the dog had last been seen. She said "The lifeboat crew couldn’t see the dog at first and came in towards the shore to check and found that it was further out . The seagulls were swooping down near to the dog and helped to guide the lifeboat to the stranded animal”

Lowestoft Lifeboat Coxswain John Fox said “we launched our relief lifeboat ‘Cassandra’ just before 2.30pm and after checking with people on the beach eventually found the dog about a half mile off shore. Deputy Second Coxswain Nigel Lyman went down onto the spray rail and pulled the dog on board our lifeboat. The dog was extremely cold verging on hypothermic so we took her into the warm wheel house and wrapped her in blankets and after telling those on the beach the good news that we had found the dog we sped back to the lifeboat station."

There the dog was taken into the warm crew room and was met by members of the Lowestoft and Southwold Coastguard Rescue Team who checked her over.

The owner was contacted from details on the dog’s collar which showed that the dog was called ‘Willow”. When reunited the young woman who was caring for the dog which belonged to her sister said that the dog had been chasing another canine and had run off from the Pakefield Caravan Park half a mile away and then disappeared.

The dog, an Alsation Labrador cross with a bit of Staffie, is just over a year old and was thought to have swallowed sea water and the owner took 'Willow' to the vets for a further checkup - later reporting on Facebook that the vet had given 'Willow' the all clear and that she was now home and well!

The Lowestoft crew on relief RNLI lifeboat 'Cassandra' delight concerned onlookers with news that the dog has been rescued

RNLI/Michael Howes

The Lowestoft crew on relief RNLI lifeboat 'Cassandra' delight concerned onlookers with news that the dog has been rescued

RNLI/Michael Howes

Onlookers watch as the Lowestoft Lifeboat crew search for the stranded dog

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland