NEWS
03/01/2018 08:24 SAST | Updated 03/01/2018 08:25 SAST

Dog Rescued From Table Mountain's Lion's Head

The dog was lost Tuesday when she went hiking with her owners.

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Cape Town's mountain rescuers had little sleep over the New Year's long weekend. A dog named Holly was among the latest to be rescued off Table Mountain, during an operation on Tuesday.

"The dog was lost yesterday [Monday] when [her owners] went hiking on [Lion's Head]," said Wilderness Safety and Rescue (WSAR) spokesperson Johann Marais.

The dog's owner was not in need of rescue, but Marais said that because the WSAR's volunteers will help any person or animal in need without charge, they helped Holly to safety.

Holly's owner, Michelle Hoch, told News24 that she and her fiancé, Josh Hayman, had decided to go for a long walk with Holly on New Year's Day, instead of having a New Year's Eve party.

They had adopted Holly, a playful mixed breed, from the DARG animal welfare organisation, and she had been with them for about six months.

They are getting married in February and wanted to enjoy a bottle of champagne in the peaceful environment to mark the start of an exciting year.

But Holly had other plans.

"We weren't expecting to see so many dassies, and Holly just broke free," said Michelle.

"The lead went out of my hand. Usually she is very good, but she must have gone running after the dassies.''

Holly ran into the distance and did not return, so they became worried and started searching for her.

They searched for her until nightfall and started again early on Tuesday, calling for her and trying to coax her towards them with her squeaky toy.

They eventually heard whining, and saw Holly's head peeping over a ledge about three storeys above them.

A massive rescue operation kicked off, with one volunteer even scrambling near to Holly to give her some water and checking her for broken bones.

Marais said: "WSAR operatives, with assistance of SANParks rangers, were able to put the dog in a harness on the ledge and lower it to safety. The call was concluded when the dog was reunited with its owner."

Thirty-one hours after she went missing, Holly was taken to the vet and given a clean bill of health.

"It is really just angels today, it's just phenomenal," said Michelle, expressing gratitude to everybody who helped with the rescue.

"I have never seen anything like it. My faith in humanity has been restored."

Nicole Nel, general manager of DARG, said they had a soft spot for Holly after her stay with them, so when they heard she was lost, they helped coordinate the rescue.

Nel paid tribute to everybody who pitched in to help Holly, including SANParks, a tracker, and volunteer rock climbers.

"We all love her and when she was safe, we did happy crying," said Nel.

In addition to Holly's rescue, WSAR also helped a man who had hurt himself at Kasteelspoort.

This was after Monday night's dramatic rescue of a female climber, who had been injured during a fall on a rock face of Table Mountain. Two other climbers died in the fall, and police have opened an inquest into the incident.

Marais said that there were 185 searches or rescues on Table Mountain in 2017, including 22 in December.

The organisation relies only on donations, which it uses to replace equipment. Anybody who wishes to support them can do so here.

News24