British Divers Marine Life Rescue
British Divers Marine Life Rescue (photo: Steve Marsh)
British Divers Marine Rescue


2006-12-19 16:41:12

Common Pup Uplift For Montrose Team

I received a phone call from Jim Walkins, my father, who said that he had come across a small seal pup on the beach at St. Cyrus. I said I would attend with Paul Horne (medic) and check the pup out. We arrived there at 10.40am and found a small common pup on a sand bank which was fast disappearing with the incoming tide. We checked the pup and found that it had good body weight but breathing was heavy and laboured. There was a sign of blood within the nostrils and there looked to be an old wound on its back.

I phoned Elaine Roft, our Co-ordinator and told he what we had found, I explained that as we were in danger of being cut off with a fast in-coming tide and as we had nothing with us to uplift the pup (we had been out walking with the dogs when I received the phone call), we would leave the seal and monitor from the beach. We waded through the channel and went on to the sand where we waited to see what the pup would do when the bank became submerged.

I again updated Elaine and waited for 1/2 hour until the tide came in. The pup swam across the channel of water and headed up onto the beach.

Paul decided to go and get the vari-kennel and our seal bag. I waited with the pup who appeared content but was still breathing eratically. Respiration at this time was 26 per minute. The pup was visibly shivering and I noticed a small fresh wound underneath the top of the right front flipper, there was also drops of blood on the sand from the pup's nose. I again updated Elaine who said she would contact Middlebank and book a pen, she would also try to arrange a relay.

Paul arrived at 12.15 and straddled the pup whilst I took its temperature (37.6) and sexed the pup, which was male.

We got the pup into the kennel and then the fun began. I am on crutches (having had a bad fall in September, seal watching) and the question was how to carry the seal back to the car some 3/4ml away. Of course, there is never any one around when you need them, the beach was deserted, so we set off at an extremely slow pace. Elaine phoned and asked how things were going, I told her we were struggling but would manage in time. She suggested we wait and she would come down to help, but I felt, that as we had already been on the beach for some 2 hours (we were freezing) and that the seal was not for settling down in the kennel (he was becoming quite stressed and banging it's head on the front of the kennel) it would be better for us to carry on and get the pup back to the car as soon as possible rather than stand about waiting for some-one to come. It took us 3/4 hour to limp back to the boardwalk where we met a man who offered to help carry the kennel the last few yards. (I was so grateful I could have kissed him). Unfortunately Paul had gone back to fetch the car and had took my crutches with him. Sorry, can't spell the expletives I came out with).

Took the pup back to our house and left him in the car to rest and settle down. Respiration at this time was 17 per min.

Sat on the settee nursing an extremely sore leg I phoned Elaine who said at that time there was no-one to do a relay. Paul felt that, rather than wait around to find volunteers to help out, he would pick up Peter Taylor (medic) and take the pup to Middlebank himself.

Paul left at 1.45 pm to pick up Peter whilst I settled down with an abundance of painkillers.

At Middlebank the pup weighed in at 16.8kgs and was named Jaguar, Ref number 2522

Thanks to Sue Horne (Volunteer), Jim Walkins (Volunteer), Medics Paul Horne & Willie Taylor, Our Co-ordinator Elaine Roft, Sue White (BDMLR Head Office), Medic Thom Mcneil (Montrose group) and Medic Donna Sutherland (Tayforth) both of whom had called in to offer to assist with a relay - sorry folks but the pup was well on its way when you called in - hopefully you can assist with the next one

Sue Horne
Montrose / Arbroath Group