Our vet Rachel Langridge talks about her adventures with her bouncing springer spaniel Finlay, including the time he found himself down a 5m deep crevasse
I was adamant from a young age that when I left home I would have my own dog. Growing up, my younger brother was not a fan of them so we never had one. After years of rented accommodation at university I finally officially moved out to start my first veterinary position and 3 months later I had been to see the puppy that would soon be known as Finlay.
My partner and I had many discussions on which breed to get and after several vetoed lists we decided on an English springer spaniel. At 8 weeks old Finlay was really just paws and ears with no control, spatial awareness or common sense – in all reality nothing much has changed other than his size!
He is true to his breed name and loves bouncing through long grass and undergrowth – think Tigger from Winnie the Pooh. I am fairly certain he has OCD when it comes to tennis balls as he can find them (or pieces of them) in any situation and will happily place them at your feet, nudging closer if you don’t pay attention, for hours on end.
Being keen hill walkers, Finlay has been up most mountains we have across the UK and now sports his own rucksack with harness in case he needs a helping hand. Now 7 years old and showing no sign of slowing down, he embraces the seasons – loving swimming in summer and chasing snowballs in winter. He’s also a fan of those wet and windy autumn walks even if we would rather not!
He has never caused us any trouble but has got himself in a few tight squeezes, most notably having to call out Mountain Rescue to retrieve him from a 5m deep crevasse. After all the mountains we have been up with Finlay it was actually a local walk where he got himself into trouble. He was doing his usual bouncing through undergrowth when he disappeared, this wasn’t an uncommon occurrence and usually he would pop up a few meters in front or behind us when he found another route. However this time he didn’t appear after several minutes. Cautiously we walked across the ground where he had been and found a gap in the rocks about half a metre wide and 5m deep with Finlay sat at the bottom of it on a ledge. At that point I couldn’t tell if he was injured but he did respond to us and tried to climb out. After my partner had established if he got down there, he wouldn’t get back out either, we called for assistance and after a few hours keeping Finlay calm, he was safely hauled back to level ground in a cargo net, no worse for the ordeal.
I would like to say he learned from his experience but he is still as bouncy and spatially unaware as ever, but we love him for it!
Rachel Langridge is our Principal Vet at Vets Now Bradford