Jan 1 2010 by Edwin Lawrence, Ayrshire Post (main ed)
HERE’S the dog who survived three icy nights on a cliff ledge.
But no-one gave up on Bruno – and his survival proved a Christmas miracle.
“You had to see where he was to believe it,” said rescuer Brian Travers.
Bruno somehow finished up on a precarious ledge in the Galloway Hills, beyond Loch Doon.
He may have slipped, fallen – or even been butted over by one of the wild goats.
If he hadn’t landed there it was a 200ft drop, and certain death.
It all started happily, with Bruno out for a festive walk with his master, Allan Davidson.
But Bruno went missing in the blink of an eye – perhaps spooked by a deer or goat.
And as darkness fell, Allan simply couldn’t find him – although he could hear his pet barking.
Allan, 45, had no choice but to go home to Mauchline, and come back the next day.
Friends came too, but it was all fruitless – and the next day was the same story.
But Brian Travers from Ayr heard about the missing pet, and decided on an early start on day four.
Brian, 45, followed an old goat across craggy Hoodens Hill, stopping to scan with his binoculars.
Eventually he saw something moving on the cliff face.
And he managed to get on the ledge, to find Bruno there.
“I spoke to him to gain his confidence,” said Brian.
“Then I held him in my jacket to warm him, and he happily wolfed my bar of Galaxy chocolate.”
Brian now had to think about getting them both off the ledge.
He used boot spare boot laces to make a lead, tying one end to Bruno’s collar and the other round his wrist.
“I had to virtually throw Bruno on to the ledge above,” said the fit gardener/handyman.
“I needed both hands free to climb up myself.”
By now reinforcements had arrived, and Allan was back at the scene, with Mauchline friend John Finnie, who is Brian’s brother-in-law.
They had come on quad bikes with the SSPCA, and saw Brian’s stick and rucksack at the top of the hill.
Now the pooch could be brought to safety.
“He had a drink out of a puddle, ate a tuna sandwich, then walked five miles back to car with me,” said Allan.
Ironically, five-year-old Bruno was a rescue dog when he came to the Davidson family.
And he’s definitely a rescue dog now.
Allan said: “What Brian did was magnificent. Bruno’s return made it a great Christmas for us – it was like winning the lottery.”
Wife Caroline agreed: “We were in tears. My dad died a few weeks ago, and he was very fond of Bruno.
“To lose Bruno as well would have made Christmas unbearable.”
The friendly spaniel cross is now getting a range of nicknames in Mauchline – everything from Lord Lucan to Cliffhanger.