Search for “Rocky” has a happy ending

BY LISA FALCONER

There was a happy ending on Skye last week when a German tourist found his dog alive days after it went missing on the Storr Ridge

Rocky, a six-year-old Alaskan Malamute (Snow Dog), went missing at around 5pm on Monday of last week while walking at the top of Storr Ridge with his owner, André Bolouri.

As they wandered above the cliffs Rocky became agitated by the sheep and was placed on his lead before André stopped to take a photograph. “I placed his lead between my legs, but Rocky took flight like a bullet. I have never seen him that determined and fast. All my shouting couldn’t stop him,” Mr Bolouri recalled.

Mr Bolouri watched in horror as Rocky went off the edge of the cliff but as he moved closer to try to spot the dog he heard a helicopter approaching, looking for the body of a Belgian man who had plunged to his death from the Trotternish ridge that morning.

Eventually Mr Bolouri began his descent, continuing to scan the hillside in the hope of spotting Rocky, before reaching his car. By chance he met local man Caley MacLean, who keeps sheep there and who volunteered to return to the hill to look for Rocky. The two men continued searching until darkness fell.

Mr Bolouri conducted a fruitless search on Tuesday before camping at Staffin, where he told campsite warden Ruth MacAlpine what had happened. The next day he was touched to discover Ruth and her husband, Dave, had swung into action, preparing posters appealing for information. Mairi MacNab from the SSPCA had also been contacted and was spreading the word.

On Thursday Mr Bolouri resumed the search, striking up the hill for the point where Rocky had vanished,. Looking into a small ditch, he spotted a sheep.

He went closer and saw Rocky lying half under the sheep. With his lead stuck and his collar cutting into this throat, he had been unable to move. Mr Bolouri suspects that the sheep had gone over the cliff just before Rocky, softening his landing but trapping him at the same time. The dog was suffering from dehydration but otherwise remarkably fit.

The duo departed Skye on Friday following a holiday neither of them is likely to forget soon. Mr Bolouri extended his thanks to all those who offered help and support during the search. He added: “I owe a lot, Rocky’s life, to everyone on the Isle of Skye who supported and encouraged me. Thank you.”