Happy reunion for ex-Dogs Trust resident and his owner after running away from fireworks
Dog charity urges dog owners to keep their pets safe this firework season
An ex-Dogs Trust Glasgow four-legged resident has been reunited with his owner after going missing from his home in Maryhill for four days after being spooked by fireworks. The four-year-old Lurcher named Chance was rescued around four miles away by the Fire Service’s Water Rescue team.
Chance had been in the family home when a firework went off in a neighbour’s garden. His owner’s mother opened the front door just as the firework went off and in a panicked state, Chance managed to slip past her and ran off down the street.
Chance’s owner, Heather Sturdy, said:
“It was awful and it all happened so quickly; he was gone before we knew it. I knew that Chance was afraid of loud noises but we just weren’t expecting it to happen.
“He is a Lurcher and they run really fast so it would be nearly impossible to catch up with him; however we continued the search and hoped he would find his way back home.”
Four days later a woman was walking her dog along a canal in Westerton and noticed her dog staring across the water at a small island of trees. When she looked in the same direction she could see a dog’s head peeking out of the long grass on the island. The woman immediately posted a picture of the dog on local Facebook page ‘Lost Dogs’ and an hour later Heather Sturdy was tagged in the photo by one of their friends who realised it was Chance.
“Rescue services were called out and I made my way down to retrieve him. When I arrived I was told not to let Chance see me because he might try to make his own way back and there was only two ways he could do this; either by swimming across the canal or travelling by foot round the back of the island, which connected with a railway line – both of which were very dangerous.
“The rescue took around an hour and a half and once he was safely back across the canal, we took him straight to a local vet where Chance was given a clean bill of health, apart from sore paws from all the walking.”
“We are unsure how he managed to get so far away from home but we are very lucky Chance is safe and sound and since being back at home he doesn’t leave our side. When we first opened the door to go for a walk he was a bit hesitant but is much better now.”
“Fireworks may be fun but it is important to keep in mind the dangers they can cause for animals. I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone for their help and support in finding my baby; Chance was extremely lucky but others might not be.”
Local Senior Officer for Glasgow Fire and Rescue, Jim Hymas, said:
“While the statutory responsibility for animal rescue does not lie with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, we will always attend where there is a risk that a member of the public might put themselves in danger by attempting to affect their own rescue.
“We are a humanitarian service and would always seek to assist an animal in distress - which can be very upsetting to members of the public.
“In this case, I am delighted that we were able to re-unite Chance with his owner – our specialist Water Rescue teams in Glasgow are part of a dedicated, 20-unit-strong national water rescue capability.
“They are perfectly equipped and trained to affect rescues on potentially hazardous waterways such as inner-city rivers, canals and urban floods.
“This incident is also a reminder of the risks surrounding fireworks and the run up to bonfire night.
“We would urge everyone to ensure they stay safe, attend an organised event where possible, and keep children and pets away from fireworks.”
Experts from Dogs Trust recognise that firework season, which includes bonfire night, Halloween and even New Year’s Eve is often a very stressful time for both dog and owner due to the unusual sights, smells and exceptionally loud noises, which often surprise dogs during the evening hours when they are settling down to sleep.
The dog welfare charity is urging dog owners to read its top tips for keeping their pet safe during fireworks season, which are available on Dogs Trust’s website, which also includes a very helpful infographic. As well as providing helpful tips online, Dogs Trusts Education team have been holding workshops with local schools and social groups around Glasgow on how to be a responsible dog owner during fireworks season. This includes making ‘doggy dens’ they can recreate in their own homes for their family pet to retreat to if they feel scared.