Well, not quite ! October 25th is a date one cow might recall before attempting to copy the habitat of its endangered cousins.Wild Water Buffalo enjoy the climate of Asia not the River Suir in November. This “wannabe” had lodged itself off the river bank deep in water under Cahir's historic and beautifully engineered train viaduct. Out of sight and not seen by walkers that day, the animal was fortunate to be discovered by local man John Shakeshaft. John was not inclined to take any credit and said that discovery was down to his dog. Clearly in distress, legs sunk in the river bank, shivering, weak and her body immersed in the chilling water for an unknown, time urgent action was required .The local community responded. Tom English was on the scene and as extraction was difficult he formulated a few plans just in case the first didn't work out. The riverbank was not suitable for most vehicles to recover the animal safely or without harm to animal or rescuers. Cahir Gardaí were notified and they set about organising contacts and specialist support/equipment to call on if needed. A call to Billy Coffey to ask if he could pop down with his digger to get a cow out of the river was met with a slight pause until he realised that it wasn't a joke - collecting latest technology - a 30 metre rope - he was there with digger and rope in minutes. Conscious of the weakening animal, Billy performed some truly skilful, intricate and delicate manoeuvring of the riverbed around the animal and at the same time nudging the poor unfortunate victim nearer to safety. Slowly the fully extended arm of the digger was able to retract as she was pulled closer to the bank with Tom English wading in the water to get a rope into play.Cavalry arrived in the form of Ollie Tarrant with a trailer. Ollie was straight in to help Tom showing off some impressive rope skills ensuring the final lift would not cause injury. With little strength left in the poor beast she dug deep into her reserves to scramble out. Exhausted she happily walked without fuss into the waiting taxi, happy to be a Friesian again not a freezin' Wild Water Buffalo !
Left to Right - The Rescue teamOllie Tarrant, Tom English, John Shakeshaft, Billy Coffey & Digger
Tom English and Billy Coffey ‘s digger lightly patting the lady along
Ollie Tarrant and Tom English on last leg of recovery