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'Tweeting' Irish terrier Vimes falls 300ft off cliff

Vimes the dog in the rescue boat Image copyright Irish Coast Guard
Image caption Vimes the dog was lifted off rocks at the bottom of the cliff and brought ashore by an Irish Coast Guard unit

A "tweeting" dog has survived unscathed after falling 300ft (91m) from a cliff and into the Atlantic Ocean.

Vimes already had his own Twitter account before the accident that took place on Sunday on the Irish coast at Dunlicky, County Clare.

Vimes is the pet of two newlyweds - a journalist and a blogger. The groom set up the dog's Twitter account in 2012.

The couple were on honeymoon in Italy when their pet fell at Lookout Point during a walk with the bride's parents.

Taken the plunge

Her family contacted the emergency services, fearing that Vimes would drown, and the Irish Coast Guard came to the dog's rescue.

Vimes' owners, Deirdre O'Shaughnessy and Brian Stokes from County Cork, had recently taken the plunge themselves and were still on honeymoon in Florence when they were told about the cliff-edge drama.

Ms O'Shaughnessy said her parents had taken both Vimes and their own pet dog for a walk at Lookout Point, but Vimes' lead slipped out of her father's hand and the dog disappeared.

She said there was a 15 second delay between her parents realising that Vimes had gone missing and hearing a splash, as he fell into the water below the cliff.

The Irish Coast Guard's marine rescue sub centre in County Kerry was alerted to the accident at about 15:40 local time on Sunday and sent a volunteer lifeboat crew from nearby Kilkee to search for the missing dog.

'Bit of an adventurer'

The officer in charge of the unit in Kilkee, Martoni Vaughan, said Lookout Point is the highest part of the cliffs and the terrier had fallen from ledge to ledge before dropping a long way into the sea.

Image copyright Irish Coast Guard
Image caption Vimes the dog, pictured by an Irish Coast Guard volunteer after the sea cliff rescue

The Kilkee crew spotted Vimes about 40 minutes after the emergency call was received. Mr Vaughan said the dog had managed to swim onto rocks.

Two of the crew members then used kayaks to reach the rocks and lifted the terrier into the lifeboat, which brought him to shore. The rescue operation ended by 17:35.

Mr Vaughan said Vimes appeared none the worse for his ordeal and added that the family had described the dog as "a bit of an adventurer".

'Emaciated'

It was not the first time the terrier has been rescued.

His owners adopted him about three years ago, after visiting Limerick Animal Welfare sanctuary.

Ms O'Shaughnessy said at the time Vimes was "emaciated" and appeared very quiet and still, compared to the other rescue dogs that were barking loudly at visitors.

The couple have no idea of their pet's age or why he ended up in an animal sanctuary in such a poor state of health.

She said when they brought Vimes home it took him a few months to come out of his shell, but she added that he is now quite "a character" with a "very strong personality" that eventually inspired his own dedicated Twitter account.

The bride works as an editor with the Cork-based radio station, 96FM, while her student husband, who previously worked as a personal assistant in the Irish parliament, runs his own current affairs blog, as well as Vimes' Twitter account.

Ms O'Shaughnessy said her husband set up the account for fun one day, because he was bored, but very rarely tweets on the canine's behalf.

However, the day after his watery adventure, a message on Vimes' account read: "I'd like to give a massive thank you to my new heroes @KilkeeRescue for saving me yesterday when I walked off a 300ft high cliff. #legends."

'Small maritime crisis'

Ms O'Shaughnessy also expressed her thanks to the Irish Coast Guard and said that although the service was not intended for dogs, she was grateful to them for going "above and beyond" the call of duty.

Her pet's Twitter profile has since been updated and now describes him as: "A tweeting dog, from Cork. Yes I did actually once walk off a 300ft cliff into the Atlantic."

A photograph of Vimes, curled up asleep in his basket, has also been posted alongside a message saying: "Taking it easy now! Me when I'm not adventuring and causing a small maritime crisis."

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