Paul March and his dog Lucy were walking the trails at East Coast Trail in eastern Newfoundland. On their outings, Paul would normally let Lucy off her leash to run ahead and she would always come back. But this time was different. She did not come back. Paul started to get worried and called out for her.
“I was a mess because she always comes back, and I have a collar on her that vibrates around her neck and gets her attention in case I need to,” he told CBC News. Paul and several other hikers searched and eventually found that Lucy had fallen over a cliff to the rocky edge of the ocean below.
“My dog is my best friend — she’s my buddy. We play together, she hikes with me, we go everywhere together, and to look down in the cove there and see her clinging to the rock and periodically being washed off and swim back again it was just heartbreaking knowing that I couldn’t do anything.”
Paul called the local fire rescue and the situation went out over the radio.
Darryl and Amy Costello happened to hear about the situation over their scanner and were nearby on their boat.
“There was a good swell on, and we’ve got a 21-foot boat and we couldn’t get real close to where she was, so my husband manoeuvered the boat for 10 minutes trying to figure it out, but, I mean, there was no way we were gonna get in,” said Costello.
“She’s a 70 or 80 pound dog and I’m not a real … you know, big dogs are kind of scary, so when I got out to the cliff I just kind of talked to her for two or three minutes and she was frightened to death, but finally she put her head down and put the paw up and I knew she knew I was there to help her. So I grabbed her by the paw and grabbed her by the collar and she kinda jumped in my arms at that moment,” said Costello.
Luckily, Costello happened to have a dog life preserver on the boat for a large-sized dog.
Without that life preserver, Costello said she doubts she would’ve been able to get the dog to the boat.
Lucy was more relaxed like she knew she was in good hands and everything would be okay.
Once the life preserver was on, it was time for the next tricky part.
But Costello was able to get Lucy to the boat pretty easily.
It was a traumatic experience for both Paul and Lucy but he was thankful that the Costellos happened to be in the right place at the right time.
“To jump into that frigid water and start swimming, that was unbelievable to see somebody do that,” he said.
Lucy had always been obedient off of the leash and he’s never had any trouble with her before this experience. But it won’t happen again as next time he intends to keep her on the leash.
Everything seemed to align perfectly for this great outcome. Amazing!