Role reversal: Daisy the St Bernard rescued after collapse on England's highest peak
St Bernards are seen as the saviours of ill-fated Alpine climbers, bounding to their aid with a barrel of restorative brandy around their necks.
But on the slopes of Scafell Pike in the Lake District the roles were reversed for one dog in distress, as mountain rescue teams were called to save a stranded pet.
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Daisy the St Bernard had tackled England's highest peak when she collapsed during the descent, and showed signs of suffering pain in her rear legs.
Taking advice from local vets on how to care for the dog, the Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team responded to a Cumbria Police call out and scrambled to retrieve Daisy before nightfall and bad weather descended on Scafell.Advertisement Advertise with NZME.
The 16-strong team found that their usual method of rescuing people was well-suited to the towering 121lb dog, and strapped the placid St Bernard onto a stretcher during the five-hour call-out.
Wasdale rescuers said the dog's cooperation was "essential" in the descent on Friday, and because Daisy was "so well behaved" the extraction went smoothly.
The team said that there is no harm to the dog but she may be "slightly embarrassed" at having undermined the idea of St Bernards being masterful mountaineers.
They added: "Having team members with their own pampered pooches at home and also our very own much adored search dog Jess, we recognise the distress that both an animal can feel and also that of their owners.Daisy, who had collapsed while descending from the summit of Scafell Pike. Photo / Telegraph
"Our members didn't need to think twice about mobilising and deploying to help retrieve Daisy."
St Bernards are working dogs from the Alps first used by monks to seek out stranded travellers during the late 17th century
The Great St Bernard Hospice in Switzerland specifically trained and developed the sturdy breed to cross snow drifts to retrieve those in distress, although the brandy barrel appears to have been a fictional addition to the dog's image.
In Cumbria, a modern descendant, 4-year-old rescue dog Daisy, was unable to move any further after descending from the peak and was kept fed and hydrated by her owners on the slopes of Scafell.Advertisement Advertise with NZME.
When specialists arrived to bring her down from the mountain she was given painkillers and hoisted onto a "dog-friendly stretcher", quickly settling in for the journey after being coaxed with treats.
Daisy lay with her chin on the headrest of the stretcher for the trip down, with five or six people at a time needed to move the 50kg canine to safety.
The rescue from the increasingly foggy Lake District peak was finally completed at 10pm, with the dog settling in for a night of rest and recuperation.
A spokesman for the Wasdale team said: "The adorable Daisy, who unfortunately had a hard start in life until she was rescued by her current owners a few months ago, has since been reported to have had a good night's sleep, snoring a little louder than normal, but back to her usual high spirits this morning."
Daisy is not the first dog to struggle in the mountainous terrain of the Lake District, and specialists have been called out in the past to take exhausted pets to safety.
In 2019 a 9-year-old dog was said to have "refused to carry on" after a "long wet day", leaving his owner to try and carry him the rest of the way down from the Cumbria Way near Keswick and Caldbeck.Advertisement Advertise with NZME.
Keswick Mountain Rescue were scrambled to help when the weight of the dog and the tiredness of the owner became too much.
The weary but happily portable pet was taken down by rescuers, who were relieved to find a terrier after fearing they would have to lift "Great Danes and Rottweilers" down the slope.