A passionate little blog started by a deerhound dog in Scotland called Rogue ‘Brylach’ MacAllister and Passed to Rascal ‘Logan’ Dorrator Heath

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Good news from the Highlands

Below is a news item from todays that will bring a smile to the whiskers of any canine worldwide. We highland hounds have long known that the secret of survival here in Scotland, comes in the form of the plentiful deer that can be found in the mountains and glens. Read on and enjoy . . .

Pet dogs survive five months running wild in the hills

IT IS a shaggy dog story that has amazed police and animal welfare staff - and proved the resilience of the bearded collie breed.

Two pedigree dogs found by a walker in a wild and remote area of the west Highlands appear to have survived for five months by roaming the hills, scavenging dead deer, rabbits and sparse vegetation.

The bitches - thought to be sisters and about 18 months or two years old - were found last weekend, frightened, underweight and covered in ticks, but alive.

However, it is thought they would not have made it through a harsher winter.

Now, as the dogs recover at an animal sanctuary - where they have been given the names Muffins and Rosie - an investigation has started into how they became abandoned.

No people have been reported missing in the area and no dogs have been reported lost.

Northern Constabulary was first told about two stray bearded collies in the Kinlochmoidart area by a walker on 11 October. Neither dog had a collar and one was lame with an injured front paw.

They appeared distressed but despite extensive inquiries were not found again. There were concerns that they could have belonged to a walker who had gone missing in the hills, but no-one was discovered.

Then last Saturday, the two black and white dogs were found and caught near Acharacle. They were said to be in a very poor condition, and after being treated for tick infestation by a vet in Fort William they were handed over to a dog warden.

Sergeant Colin Biddulph, who is based in Mallaig, speculated that the domesticated dogs could have escaped or been dumped.

"By hunting together or scavenging, they seem to have survived, although they were pretty thin when they were found.

"I don't know how long it would take a dog to revert to basic instincts. They managed for a period of five months, which is not bad at all in such an isolated area.

"However, it's been a fairly mild winter here and if it had been a bit harsher perhaps they would not have survived."

He said if anything had happened to the dogs' owner, he would have expected neighbours in a small community to have reported it.

Fiona Docherty, Highland Council's Lochaber dog warden, said she was amazed how well the dogs had been, given the long time they spent in the hills.

"Their diet probably consisted of dead deer carcases, rabbits and vegetation," she said.

"They were obviously someone's loved pets, but for some reason they have been abandoned. Something has maybe happened to their owner."

The dogs are now being cared for at the Animal Aid centre in Munlochy in the Black Isle.

Iona Henderson, who runs the centre, said: "They were under-weight, dirty and covered in ticks. But it's incredible that they have spent five months out there. They had not been badly looked after before, because they are not frightened of people.

"Once we got our hands on them, all the fear of running wild seemed to go and they went back to being domestic creatures.

"They seem to be frightened of noises like a banging door and it's been terrible trying to get a collar and lead on. But we will find new homes for them very easily."

Bearded collies, known for their long, shaggy coats, were originally bred to work as herding dogs in the hills.

The Bearded Collie Club says they are athletic and able to walk miles over the hills.

A spokesman said: "Beardies have been known to survive for a matter of weeks, but I'm surprised to hear these two managed for some months, especially in an area where there would have been less for them to eat."

And to close this blog - It’s a ‘triumph’ in the Scottish Highlands for the dogs.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

It really is amazing what our beloved pets are capable of doing. Thanks for sharing this lovely story!

7:21 am  

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