A porpoise that became stranded on a remote beach in Wales recently made a lucky return back out to sea – with a little bit of help from a curious spaniel named Leia.  

The dog and its owner had been roaming a rocky shore in the town of Criccieth, when two-year-old Leia got wind of something farther along the beach. "I was taking photos of the fantastic scenery when I heard my dog barking at me ... clearly she had found something!" Rich Wilcock recalls.

Leia's repeated barking and excited interest in something in the distance persuaded Wilcock to investigate, leading him to what the UK's Sea Watch Foundation says was likely a juvenile harbour porpoise that had become stranded on the shore.

“With the strong winds we are getting at the moment, it is quite possible he just got blown out of the way and stranded rather than having anything seriously wrong with him, so let’s hope he made it back out to sea safely," a spokesperson for the foundation told the Daily Post.

The organisation has made a point of emphasising that the best course of action for anyone who finds a stranded animal is to call in the local wildlife officials, but it did add that the remote location would have made that difficult in this case.  

“If possible we do advise to call the [British Divers Marine Life Rescue] for stranding cases to assess the animal's condition, but [this particular animal] looked quite lively and had no obvious injuries,” the spokesperson added.

Wilcock managed to gently lift and guide the porpoise back out to sea, and waited on the shore for some time afterwards to make sure the animal did not strand again. He also managed to capture the impromptu rescue on camera. 

The remote location of the beach meant that he wasn't able to alert officials right away. "I spoke to the coastguard once my [phone had] signal and they reported it to the science team. The little guy was lucky as there was nobody around for miles! And, if it wasn't for my dog barking at me I would have missed him too!"

Top header image: Sean McCann, Flickr