05:00, 27 March 2015 | By Alan Weston
Frightened pet had been out in the open all night after becoming separated from owner
A blind dog trapped on the Wirral shoreline sparked a full-scale alert when people tried to wade into the water to rescue the terrified animal.
The four-year-old springer spaniel, Charlie, had spent all night out in the open after he became separated from his owner while being walked on Hoylake beach.
People who were out walking their own dogs next morning noticed the animal, by now cold and confused, partially in the water a few miles away from where he was lost, off Bay View Drive in Wallasey.
Local coastguard rescue teams were alerted earlier todayafter reports of people in the water trying to save the dog.
Once on scene, everyone was cleared from the water before the coastguard team managed to coax the frightened animal ashore.
The beloved family pet was later reunited with his relieved owner, Alistair Waddington, from Hoylake, and is now recovering at home, apparently none the worse for his ordeal.
He said: “Charlie had been missing since the evening before while I was out walking him on the beach.
“He doesn’t like other dogs approaching him, but unfortunately one broke free from his lead and charged at Charlie, who took off.
“We searched for him but couldn’t find him at all. I was beginning to fear the worst and thought he might be a goner.”
Gary Wright, station officer for Hoylake and New Brighton coastguard teams, said: “Our initial call was not to rescue the dog, but to rescue the people who were trying to rescue the dog.
“There were concerns for people entering the water. Once we’d cleared everyone, we turned our attention to the dog. It was sitting in the water bolt upright, and was obviously both scared and confused, not to mention cold.
“It was tricky because whoever approached the dog effectively scared it into the water.
“After many failed attempts and while awaiting the dog warden, the team managed to get between the dog and the water and herd it ashore, before they managed to capture it.”
He added: “Our advice to those that witness dogs in the sea, is please do not attempt to rescue them. The fact is that most dogs will make it ashore safely, while many people attempting to rescue them don’t. Call 999 and ask for the Coastguard instead.”