Watch as dog rescued from rising tide by sausage attached to drone

A family dog has been rescued from rising tides, after a four-day search involving coastguards, firefighters, the police and a flying sausage attached to a drone.

The Jack Russell-whippet, named Millie, became stranded on dangerous mudflats after slipping her lead during an outing in Havant, Hampshire, The Portsmouth News reports. 

A daring four-day rescue mission was launched to bring Millie back to her distraught family, but even an attempt to reach her by kayak was not successful.

Millie on the mudflats. Image courtesy of Denmead Drone Search and Rescue

She resisted efforts to bring her to safer ground until a drone pilot from Denmead Drone Search and Rescue team (DDSR) suggested attaching some food to one of the drones that had been used to monitor Millie. 

“After employing the expertise of some locals, we were told if Millie wasn’t moved within a few hours she would have been cut off, and the area she was in underwater, with drowning highly likely,” DDSR said in a Facebook post after the rescue. “We had to think fast. One of our fully qualified drone pilots suggested attaching food to the drone, to try and lure her out of the danger area. After checking CAA regulations, and the maximum takeoff weight of the drone, we had 6 oz (170g) to play with, so we attached a 2 oz (56g) sausage to the drone.

The smell of the savoury snack proved to be too much for Millie to resist, despite a “hair-raising” moment when the search team thought she’d caught both the sausage and drone.

“We didn’t think it would work, but it did,” DDSR continues. “We managed to lure Millie 300 metres over, into a safety zone. Luckily she stayed in that area so we had prevented her from possibly drowning.”

Chris Taylor, the chair of the DDSR, called it a ‘genius’ idea. “It was something we had never tried before – the sausages were the last resort, as we couldn’t reach her by kayak or any other means.

“Because Millie was hungry it worked at luring her away from the danger to higher ground, which wouldn’t go underwater.”

(Pictured left: Millie follows a sausage being flown underneath a drone)

Despite Millie running away after the sausage had lured her to higher ground, she was soon spotted inland from the marsh. She was reunited with her owner, Emma Oakes, after recognising Oakes’ father Tony and jumping into his arms. 

Emma Oakes told the News that ‘relief poured over her’ when they were reunited. 

“I’d been searching for Millie and working at the same time,” Oakes, who works as a care manager, says. “I just became exhausted all of a sudden. It was just absolutely fantastic to have her home.

“Millie really likes food and she’ll eat anything you give her … raw carrots, cucumber – but she much prefers sausages. Meat is her favourite food, so dangling a sausage was probably the best thing they could lure her with.”

Taylor says that DDSR aren’t ruling out using the unusual tactic for future rescues. “We certainly would consider using sausages again: every dog and search operation is always going to be different, but if we were ever in a similar situation again we would employ the same methods to lure the dog.”

Spotlight Job

OEM business development manager UK

Southampton (hybrid)

Vetus is seeking a dynamic and highly motivated OEM business development manager to join its team in the UK. In this pivotal role, you will be responsible for preparing and implementing a comprehensive account plan, aimed at achieving ambitious sales and marketing objectives.

Full job description »

Comments are closed.

This article was written and/or edited by the UK-based MIN team.