A seal of approval
Policy and procedures are talked about a lot in health and safety but they are there for good reason and I had an unexpected example of that over the weekend.
Visiting St Agnes, Cornwall, on Sunday, from the cliffs Karen, my wife, and I spotted a seal leaving the water and heading up the beach at Chapel Porth. By the time we got to the beach a number of local dog walkers who had also seen it were putting their dogs on leads and giving the seal a suitably wide berth. A family had also stopped by the pup and were helping keep away the dogs still not on leads.
Although not obviously injured, the pup looked distressed and in need of help. Both the family and us had had the same idea and were in contact with the Gweek Seal Sanctuary to find out what to do – seal rescuing is not a skill set either of us possessed! I was put in touch with a local officer who having asked a number of questions (location, size, condition, distance from the sea, etc.), said they would be there in 15 minutes.
15 minutes later he and a colleague arrived with a seal stretcher amongst other equipment and proceeded to examine the animal – a 4 month old pup – and using the stretcher take it off the beach and away for further examination. Turns out the pup, now named Wolf, had a bad but not obvious “net injury” and is being nursed back to health at the sanctuary in Gweek.
From the dog walkers applying leads, the initial telephone risk assessment, attendance and examination to the now treatment, worked seamlessly. The staff at the sanctuary had the competencies and training in place to assess the situation and be in the right place at the right time with the right equipment to do what was needed.
It is always good to celebrate a job well done, especially when you see it first-hand, as well as a great reminder of the bigger picture of why we do what we do – albeit not usually involving small, cute, furry animals!!