An innocent walk on the beach took a turn for the worse on Sunday 24th September, when a local couple were out walking their dog Reuben on Mouth Mill beach.

Unfortunately, 12-year-old Reuben suffers from hearing loss, and when he got lost his owners were unable to call him back. After a long search, the dog was eventually located in the water and the coastguard was called for assistance.

At 12.54 Clovelly’s volunteers were paged, hitting the water just four minutes later and making their way towards the scene. On arrival, they found Reuben approximately 400 feet from the beach, struggling to keep his head above the water. By this point, the owners estimated that he had been missing for around one hour.

Initially the crew attempted to pull Reuben into the boat, but the frightened animal swam in the other direction. In order to get him to safety, crew member Paul Smale entered the water, where he was able to get hold of him and transfer him to the boat. By 13.20 the Toby Rundle was back at the station with Reuben safely on board. Volunteers helped keep him warm and dry while they waited for his owners to arrive.

Photo courtesy of RNLI

Crew member Paul Smale said, “The owners did the right thing by contacting the coastguard instead of attempting to reach the animal themselves. He was really struggling when we reached him but fortunately we were able to get there in time. We always advise members of the public to call 999 and ask for the coastguard if they see an animal struggling in the water.”

The shout made for a busy day for Clovelly’s volunteers, who had previously completed another service that day. While returning from exercise crew members noticed that a boat in the harbour had broken its stern lines and was drifting towards the rocks. Fortunately they were able to put a volunteer on board to secure the line and ensure the safety of the vessel.