As Rich Wilcock prepared to go fishing on a beach in Wales, his 2-year-old Springer Spaniel, Leia, started making a “right old fuss,” Wilcock told the Daily Post.
Leia barked and nudged her dog dad. “She doesn’t usually bark or make that sort of sound,” Wilcock told the Leader.
She led him down a beach in Criccieth to a small dolphin that had washed up on the shore.
“At first I thought it was a baby shark,” Wilcock told the Post. “It was only about one-and-a-half foot, but on a closer inspection, I could see the blow hole on top of his head and realized it was a dolphin.”
He said Leia must have smelled the dolphin from a mile away.
People who come across stranded marine animals are usually advised not to touch them, and to notify authorities. But Wilcock could not get a signal on his cell phone.
“I was miles from anywhere and he was getting restless,” he told the Leader.
Wilcock, who made a video recording of the rescue, said he did what he could as gently as possible. “I lifted him gently under the belly and popped him back amongst the waves, and he swam away into deeper water,” he told the Post.
Wilcock and Leia remained on the beach for an hour to make sure the dolphin was safely back at sea.
“With the strong winds we are getting at the moment, it is quite possible he just got blown out of the way and stranded rather than having anything seriously wrong with him,” a spokesperson with the nonprofit Sea Watch Foundation, which monitors and improves the conservation of dolphins and whales in the UK, told the Post.
“It’s great to see people (and dogs!) helping out wildlife,” the spokesperson said.
Leia “is a very intelligent dog, more intelligent than most,” her proud dog dad told the Post.
Photo via YouTube