Shelby the rescue dog was once again in need of saving – this time from a cliff face in southwest Victoria.
The dalmatian-cross-blue heeler was left teetering* on a tiny dirt ledge “24m above rocks and crashing waves” after slipping from a walking path at Portland on July 23.
Her owners, the Dean family of Cape Nelson, were alerted to her plight* when she let out a terrified bark.
“We were just hoping she wouldn’t move since the ledge she was on was so small,” Kim Dean said.
“I can’t even begin to imagine how far she would have fallen if she slipped.
“When she was on the cliff, she started barking. It was a bark asking for help. We were worried because it was starting to get dark.”
Shelby’s predicament sparked a dramatic rescue, in which SES* and fire rescue crews descended the cliff face – in the dark – to grab her by the collar and pull her to safety.
“The SES crew went to the top of the cliff and dug plates into the ground to stabilise themselves,” Ms Dean said.
“They then descended* down the cliff and harnessed* Shelby with ropes to lift her back up to safety.”
The SES’s Portland unit said the scared pooch “was a perfect patient, staying still until we could lower one of our rescuers down to carefully reach her collar”.
Ms Dean said the family, who rescued Shelby from an animal shelter three years ago, were “very frightened and shaken up” by the incident.
Shelby was safely returned home after her cliff ordeal*, where she recovered tucked up under a blanket on the couch.
“We were so grateful for the SES – we donated to the organisation when we got home,” Ms Dean said.
- teetering: moving or balancing unsteadily
- plight: a dangerous and difficult situation
- predicament: a difficult and unpleasant situation
- SES: State Emergency Services
- descended: moved downwards
- harnessed: put a set of straps or ropes on something to control it
- ordeal: a long and unpleasant experience
- What breed is Shelby?
- How far up was Shelby stuck on the ledge?
- How were Shelby’s owners alerted to her plight?
- Where did Shelby’s owners get her from three years ago?
- What did Shelby do to recover after her rescue?
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1. Thank You Card
Design and write a thank you card to the SES rescuers from Shelby the rescued dog. Include a sketch of the pooch showing her gratefulness.
Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Visual arts, Critical and creative thinking
Work with a classmate to demonstrate to each other how a bark for help may differ from a dog’s normal, everyday bark. If you heard this in your neighbourhood, would it make you stop and try to help?
Time: allow 10 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Critical and creative thinking
1. Wow Word Recycle
There are plenty of wow words, (ambitious pieces of vocabulary) being used in the article. Some are in the glossary, but there might be extra ones from the article that you think are exceptional as well.
Identify all the words in the article that you think are not common words, and particularly good choices for the writer to have chosen.
Select three words you have highlighted to recycle into your own sentences.
If any of the words you identified are not in the glossary, write up your own glossary for them.
Find a bland sentence from the article to up-level. Can you add more detail and description? Can you replace any base words with more specific synonyms?
Down-level for a younger audience. Find a sentence in the article that is high level. Now rewrite it for a younger audience so they can understand the words without using the glossary.