Aug 9 2012 by Gary Fanning, Hamilton Advertiser
FOUR brave schoolchildren this week have been hailed as heroes – for saving the life of a family pet who plunged down a 100ft gorge at a Hamilton beauty spot.
Larkhall Academy fourth-year pupils Bradley Donaghy, Jamie Bailey, Daniel Hanlon and Brooke Thomson put their own lives in danger to rescue the brown labrador who had fallen over a cliff at Chatelherault Country Park, near Hamilton.
The 19-month-old dog disappeared for 24 hours on Sunday lunchtime while walking off the lead with his owner Scott Gillespie.
Despite frantic searches by Scott, his family, the Fire Brigade and climbers, there could not track down the canine, called Bear.
On Monday, delighted Scott received a call from Bradley (15), to say that he had found Bear who had been sheltering on a treacherous ledge at the gorge.
Now Bradley has been described as a hero for clambering down onto the narrow ledge where the terrified pet had been forced to huddle overnight.
The teenager managed to scoop the missing dog to safety from the ledge, which sits about 20ft above the River Clyde.
If Bradley had got the dog excited during the rescue, then the ledge could have given way and both of them would have fallen into the swollen river.
But the plucky youngster managed to keep the dog calm and lifted him up the gorge to safety with help from friends.
Modest Bradley used laces from the waist of his jogging bottoms as a lead to rescue the dog.
The Stonehouse youngster said: “I don’t see myself as I hero. I am just glad to have been able to help the dog.
“I wouldn’t have had a better chance than the dog to save myself if one of us had fallen.
“I was walking with my friend in the park when we heard the dog barking.”
Scott’s wife Janine (37), praised the teenagers for rescuing their dog.
“The kids were brilliant and we can’t thank them enough,” she said.
“Bradley was brave and he put his own life in danger to save the dog.
“After the rescue, square sausages were waiting for Bear at the park’s cafe.
“He got the best breakfast.
“He was given a ride to the cafe and he was sitting there like the King of Sheba.
“It was a happy ending to the story.”
The ordeal began when owner Scott Gillespie (37), decided to take his two dogs a walk in Chatelherault Country Park on Sunday about 12.30pm.
They were walking in the park when the dogs were off the lead and Bear disappeared over the ridge.
Scott saw a climber and asked for his help. The climber used his 50ft ropes to clamber down the gorge, however, there was no sign of Bear.
Scott and a ranger, called Paul, raced to the bottom of the gorge but there was no trace of the dog.
The Fire Brigade sprang into action and their efforts drew a blank too.
Scott’s friends and family desperately searched for Bear later that night with no success.
Scott, who lives in East Kilbride, said: “At first I could hear barking and scratching but we had no idea where he was.
“Then we got a phone call the following day from a young guy who said he was sitting on a ledge and had my dog.
“Bear is fine and there is not a mark on him.
“I can’t thank everyone enough for helping to find him.”