Belfast Telegraph

Runaway dog back home after dramatic Belfast cliff rescue

By Kate Buck

Ten heroic firefighters were involved in a right 'royal' rescue when they abseiled down Cave Hill to rescue a regally named dog after she managed to wedge herself up a cliff for 24 hours.

Princess, a Jack Russell terrier cross, had been on a stroll with her family at the north Belfast beauty spot, when she ran off.

She managed to climb up the face of the cliff where she remained stuck for a terrifying and lonely 24 hours until some walkers found her and called the emergency services.

A team of 10 firefighters came to her aid, abseiling down to the sheer cliff face to find her.

However, there was no golden carriage for this princess. Instead she had to be placed into a canvas bag to be brought to safety.

Tom McQuillan (17), Princess's owner, was asleep in bed when his mum came home on Saturday morning to tell him that Princess had gone missing.

He told the Belfast Telegraph: "At first I was in complete disbelief, I had no idea how it could happen.

"My mum was walking her and there's a part of the walk where she likes to let the dogs off the leash, but Princess saw a rabbit and ran off. That was the last time she was seen.

"Princess is a very docile dog and she loves people as long as she gets to know them.

"She is one of five dogs shared between my family but is personally my dog and she loves me the most out of our family.

"When we got her back she was so happy for a while, but then she went to sleep for ages. I don't think she slept the whole time she was up there.

"We are all so happy to have her back."

Donal McDaniel (54), a driving instructor from Belfast, was out walking with some friends when they heard some noises coming from the cliffside. He said: "We weren't too sure if it was a bird or a dog, so we kept listening out to hear it again.

"Another man was passing through and said he was a much more experienced walker and wanted to see it if he could see it better. He had better gear and knew his limitations.

"He said he couldn't have left without seeing if the dog was ok and it was because of him that we found her and knew where to tell the emergency services to come to. The wee dog must have been 15ft below us on the cliff.

"They sent about 10 fire officers to come and see if they could bring her up to us, but they spoke to the owners first to make sure that she was friendly and wasn't a biter.

"The owners were very nervous in case she fell down or got scared by the fire officers and there were a lot of loose rocks on the ledge where Princess was. They managed to get a little hook around her collar so she wouldn't run off again and put her in a little canvas bag."

Despite having been stuck on a cliff edge for the night, it seemed as though Princess was made of hardy stuff.

Donal added: "Once they'd got her over the top it seemed as though the whole experience hadn't bothered her and she just walked away like she could have done it again."

Belfast Telegraph

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