By Esté Langeveldt
This dog had a very RUFF day after being winched to safety from South Africa’s iconic Table Mountain.
Rescue dog, Holly, went missing while hiking with owners Michelle Hoch and Josh Hayman at Lions Head in Table Mountain National Park, Cape Town.
The newly engaged couple had taken Holly on this specific trek for the first time when she suddenly darted off and was out of sight within seconds.
Josh said: “We had her close by the whole walk up. She was having such a blast but never left our side.
“About 40 minutes up, she broke away from us unexpectedly and a second later she was out of sight.
“We immediately ran further up looking for her and calling for her.
“We called and called hoping to hear her. The cliff face on that corner was steep and the ground very loose.
“There was no way to get to the edge safely and we both feared that she may have fallen. The drop was very far down.”
Michelle, 29 and Josh, 34, both from Cape Town, desperately searched until sunset before being joined by DARG, the Domestic Animal Rescue Group from which they adopted Holly, the following day.
Michelle added: “We tried to stay positive and kept searching all day, non-stop until night time and couldn’t find her, it was terrible.
“I rushed home in the afternoon to fetch a drone and make ‘missing’ posters.
“When I got down from the mountain I called Nicole at DARG (Domestic Animal Rescue Group). She was the animal behaviourist who helped us adopt Holly in August. She met us on the mountain and we carried on searching until late.
“She helped us put up posters and organised some volunteers to search the next morning. We told everyone we passed on the trail that we’d lost Holly and people started to look for her too. We flew the drone around the cliffs but there was no sign of her. It was as if she’d just vanished.
“We barely slept that night and were incredibly upset. The next morning early, we were back on the mountain looking. We said we refused to go back home without our Holly.
“We took her favourite squeaky toy and called all her nicknames as we walked all the trails surrounding where we’d lost sight of her.
“We had volunteers and remarkable people from DARG helping us.”
After several nail-biting hours they heard a whine and spotted Holly’s head poking out over a ledge. the poor pooch was eventually winched to safety much to the delight of Michelle and Josh.
Thirty-one hours after she went missing, Holly was taken to the vet and given a clean bill of health.
Michelle added: “The cliff was very steep and all many of the rocks were loose and brittle. It was very scary.
“We were overcome with joy when she was rescued. I ran out of tears.
“We just couldn’t believe what was happening. She licked us and rolled on her back for a tummy rub, as if nothing had happened.
“She drank loads of water and seemed like she just wanted to finish the hike.
“Of course, we carefully brought her down the mountain and took her straight to the vet for a check-up.
“She’s such an adventurous spirit. She’s never done anything like this, but every so often she reminds us she’s not a human.
“We don’t think we’ll be taking her on any crazy trails for a while, but we can’t keep her cooped up, she’s an explorer.”