Last year Tilly, a lovely-natured Springer Spaniel from Douglas, endured a terrifying 16-hour ordeal after letting her doggie instincts take over whilst out for a walk. Ambling along the dog-friendly beach of Garwick, Tilly spotted a waterfowl and took off in hot pursuit. Bounding after the duck and into the sea, she continued swimming despite the choppy waters until she disappeared out of sight.

Hayley Varney, Tilly’s owner, learnt of the ongoing drama from her father who had been taking Tilly for her walk. Completely distraught, Hayley rushed to the scene but, despite calling her name and searching frantically along the coastline, Tilly was nowhere to be seen. Douglas coastguards were called to assist in the search-and-rescue but, two hours later, those in charge of the effort had no choice but to stop looking as darkness fell over the secluded cove.

A nail-biting 16 hours were to pass before Tilly was eventually found by a member of the public. It appeared that she had been heading south for Groudle until perhaps exhausted from swimming and the trauma of her experience, she simply dragged herself onto the rocks where she was finally rescued.

A year on, Tilly is still running along beaches and seems to enjoy swimming in the sea more than ever before. According to Hayley, apart from a couple of days after her duck misadventure when she basked in all the extra attention, Tilly was back on active form from the word go. She can often be seen frolicking along  Jurby Beach, one of her favourite walks, or running up and down the sandy hills along the coastal paths, and so far she has managed to avoid any further ‘fowl play’.

Chasing birds is a natural trait in a pooch. Dogs instinctively want to hunt but it is possible to change their behaviour over time. You can discourage your dog from chasing birds with some recall training: practice, reward with a treat and repeat. Try using games or toys to persuade your four-legged companion that playing with you is more enjoyable and rewarding than chasing after feathered creatures.

After hearing of Tilly’s misadventure, Howl and Hound will be presenting her with ‘Carlos The Crab’ which is a great toy for throwing and retrieving. Tilly will be able to have hours of fun on the beach with Hayley and her father while staying safely on land and without getting into deep water!