Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association column: animals have always featured in our callouts

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Yet another dog rescue, number 50 to be exact, and again at Guisecliffe near Pateley Bridge.

This time it was Millie, a springer spaniel that had fallen down a 30-foot hole.

It was just a year ago we rescued Paddy, another spaniel, from the same area who had fallen down the same hole as Sophie, a boxer, a year previous.

Animal rescues have always featured in our call-outs.

The list ranges from sheep and lambs, to the less often cows, dogs and horses to the exotic – two parrots, one that flew off at the critical moment although the other, rescued by our swift water team during the York floods, was a much easier operation as it was still in its cage.

The list includes four horses, 16 cows, seven calves, 433 sheep, 170 lambs, three goats and 50 dogs.

Sheep have been rescued in large numbers on a few occasions mainly when we have had to dig them out of snowdrifts.

Individual sheep are hard to catch even when they are in a no way out situation. It’s often a case of stalking them, one member trying to hypnotise it from the front with another member slowly approached from behind while both dangling on ropes.

It’s a similar situation with goats but with the added danger of the goat taking a bite out of you as you draw level.

But it’s the cow rescues that give us the ‘oh no’ moments. Cows down holes are bad enough but cows in bogs are the worst and it’s only in recent years when we could afford a winch to our Land Rovers, that this utterly exhausting and messy operation has been slightly eased.

The most unusual cow story was one that got stuck in a tree – it had rolled down an escarpment. It was a triumphant moment on getting her back to earth.

Horses are a challenge. The most memorable rescue being one that had fallen into an old inspection pit. We also have horses stranded in water to test our ways of doing things.

Dogs are generally easier to rescue if they have fallen down holes or old leadmine shafts but then we have the terriers who have ‘gone to ground‘ after rabbits which are much more of a challenge.

Our most publicised rescue was with an abandoned lurcher we named WUFRA, stuck on Buckden Pike in dreadful weather conditions for several weeks with no food or drink or shelter and with a broken leg.

This successful rescue caught the attention of the media and the heartwarming rescue featured across 27 countries.

WUFRA we are pleased to say is now enjoying a VIP lifestyle with the owners of a dog grooming business in Grassington who took her in.

We take great pride at our animal rescues and in addition to the satisfaction of saving them we are also helping the local community and in particular the farmers.

These incidents, of course, also create good training opportunities, especially for our newer members.