The mammoth search for Kip
In the middle of June my 4-year old blind Springer Spaniel, Kip, went missing during our daily walk on the beach at Druridge Bay. This sparked what was probably one of the biggest dog searches the area has ever known.
I began looking for Kip immediately and was joined by friends and locals. The word spread like wildfire when Kip was posted as missing on the website www.doglost.co.uk. The response was magnificent and before the end of the day volunteers were out searching in droves.
The reaction of local people was truly heart-warming. The numbers swelled as we were joined by people who travelled from Yorkshire and the West of Scotland to help.
Posters and leaflets were everywhere, Eshott Airfield asked their pilots to search, posties and the fishing fleet were on the look-out, Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service even lent us a thermal imaging camera.
The power of the Internet came into its own and Doglost had more than 220,000 views of Kip’s page on their website. Kip’s story was re-Tweeted by various celebrities, reaching over a million followers. No stone was left unturned in a phenomenal response.
There was always the possibility that Kip had gone into the sea, never to return. The beaches were combed from Seahouses to Cambois daily in case his body had been washed ashore. After 17 days, that is how Kip’s remains were discovered at Low Hauxley. Devastating as that was, it was comforting to know that he had not been hungry, frightened, cold, perhaps injured or trapped somewhere. Kip had gone for one long final swim, never to return.
A week later more than 70 members of the search party (known as Team Kip) and their dogs joined me in a walk from Low Hauxley to scatter white roses along with Kip’s ashes at his favourite part of Druridge Bay near the Country Park. We even had an escort from the local lifeboat!
After retracing our steps we had a barbecue at Hauxley Village Hall and raised a glass or two in celebration of Kip’s life. He was a very special dog and is sorely missed.
Photographs by Rebecca Ashworth