A group of Derry teenagers who raised the alarm after coming across an exhausted dog on the streets of Creggan have been praised for raising the alarm and keeping him safe and fed until help arrived.
The group of around 20 boys and girls had noticed the black Labrador in a bad state lying on the street and unable to lift his head in the Central Drive/ Rinmore Drive area on Sunday evening and immediately intervened.
The big hearted youths telephoned the local charity, Friends of Rescue, which was set up locally a year ago and runs a network of volunteer foster homes for pets across Derry.
Friends of Rescue in turn alerted one of their members so they could go along and examine the dog and get him veterinary assistance.
Suzanne Fleming from Friends of Rescue said: “These young people thought he had been hit by a car. They were panicking like anything that he was going to die.
“We tried to arrange somebody to pick him up and rang them back and told them to keep him warm and keep talking to him. Bless them when we got there they were all really concerned and were trying to do their best for him. They were about 14 and 15 years of age.
“When we arrived they had covered him with their coats, sat talking to him to make sure he was okay and had got him a scoop of chips.”
The dog was checked over by a vet and placed in a foster home before being reunited with his owners on Monday.
It later transpired that the dog’s name was ‘Odie’ and that the seven-year-old Labrador’s owners had been appealing for help in locating him after he went missing the previous night.
And it was no wonder ‘Odie’ was exhausted as it also emerged that he had undertaken an epic trip from Nelson Drive in the Waterside all the way to Creggan on the outskirts of the cityside.
Suzanne said that it was important to highlight the selfess and caring actions of the young people involved.
“Young people always get such a bad Press but that is not always the case. When we arrived the other night all they wanted was to fix the issue and they were very concerned and delighted when somebody appeared for him. They weren’t looking for anything, they just wanted to see him sorted.
“We can honestly say our hearts were bursting with the overall act of care from these young people. “They are the future generation and it’s such an encouraging sign.”
To find out more about Friends of Rescue in Derry, check out their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/friendsofrescueireland/