We’re all a little starved of good news right now. So we were thrilled to hear that at the weekend, our very own Ciara Nolan was a part of the most heart-warming tale we’ve heard in a long time, rescuing a missing dog on the Wicklow Mountains…
Missing dog on Wicklow Mountains
Our expedition doctor Ciara was on a hike on her local mountain Lugnaquilla, with her partner Jean-François Bonnet, when they came across a lost dog. Naoise has been missing for two weeks and was shivering, terrified, and too cold to even bark. Using her top-notch expedition doctor skills, Ciara and Jean-François wrapped Naoise up in their spare coat. They then carried her an astonishing 10km back to safety.
How they found her
“We found her right beside a rock, and she wasn’t sheltered at all. She was completely exposed. I don’t know how she wasn’t dead, especially now that it’s getting colder, with more snow on the way. We were so lucky that we found her when we did.”
“She was completely weak when we found her. Naoise was just lying on the ground, completely frozen. She must have heard us coming, but she didn’t bark. I spotted her, and got such a fright because she looked so weak. She couldn’t even stand up.”
How mountain skills came in handy
Luckily, Ciara’s work as one of our amazing expedition doctors means that she was the perfect person to find her. It’s the mountain skills that Ciara has been trained in that helped in the rescue of Naoise.
“It was exactly a year on from my expedition to Kilimanjaro with Earth’s Edge. It was literally the same weekend. Luckily, I had done mountain skills training and a couple of courses and it definitely helped us. I was so focused on getting off her wet clothes, getting her dry, and getting her into dry clothes. We both knew that we couldn’t give her too much food, as it could make her more unwell, which is called refeeding syndrome.
“Our mountain skills also made us really resourceful. We were able to quickly assess the situation and have a quick survey of her situation. It definitely drilled into our mountain skills. When something wasn’t working, we’d think about what to try next. We tried different ways of carrying her, attaching her to us. We used all the straps and clips on our bags to reinforce the sling. It was brilliant to be so resourceful with the minimal amount of equipment. We didn’t really have anything with us, but we used what we had to make the most of a bad situation.”
“That expedition to Kilimanjaro was my last holiday, so we were laughing that rescuing the dog up a mountain was keeping my mountain skills in check until Earth’s Edge can do trips again!”
The couple were able to wrap her safely and hike her back to civilisation. When they got home, they wrapped her up nice and warm and contacted the local animal shelter. With their help, they were able to track down Naoise’s family. The reunion would bring a tear to anyone’s eye. “We swapped phone numbers with her family on the night, and it’s been really nice to get updates. She’s doing really well.”
“We absolutely couldn’t have left her. Both of our hearts just broke when we saw her. There was no question about it – we just knew we had to get her down.”
And just to prove that this is the story we all need… the video that Jean-François uploaded to TikTok has been viewed 732,000 already, and almost 468,000 times in a separate post on Twitter. It seems that people can’t get enough of this heart-warming tale (or should we say, tail).
@jeanfrancoiswillem##dog ##lostdog ##rescue ##mountain ##pet ##ireland ##lost ##dublin @ciaranolan05♬ Surrender – Natalie Taylor
My work colleague lost her Labrador 2 weeks ago in the Wicklow mountains. A couple found her and saved her life. They made this vid of her rescue. Now reunited with her family. #faithinhumanity #kindeness #dogs @dog_rates @sampson_dog @bunsenbernerbmd 💕 pic.twitter.com/hNrvtHmASs
— Joy (@joypatrica) February 7, 2021
You can read all about our expeditions here.