Slip by name, slip by nature.

A 16-month-old huntaway was rescued by eight Hastings firefighters last week after three nights trapped on a narrow ledge near Te Mata Peak.

Owner Sally Ostick was walking Slip and Jack Russell Archie on a park track when Slip vanished. He remained missing despite the best efforts of a Fire Service line-rescue crew working in the dark that night.

Sally and partner John Bird had all but given up hope of seeing her pet again when John thought he heard a whimper on the third day and discovered Slip on the ledge below a track.


Unable to reach the young canine, and wary of the possibility Slip could easily topple from the ledge, they called the Fire Service which led to firefighter Nicky Bates being lowered to the ledge early in the afternoon, getting the dog into a sling and getting him hauled back to safety.

Nicky said later she knew she would have to "bond" quickly with Slip to avoid another fall from the ledge which was no more than 40cm wide.

She used a water bottle from the fire truck to quench the trembling dog's thirst as she reached him and placed him in the sling.

"He was shaking and looking skinny," said Nicky, who had done a similar job in a rescue near Raupunga several years ago. "He wasn't going anywhere, but I think he knew he was being rescued."

She said it was quite a way down if Slip had fallen further, and it was possible he was too scared to even bark because he could fall again.

Slip was soon back home, sleeping but appearing little the worse for the ordeal, as Sally praised the Fire Service's two crews totalling eight staff.

"It was incredible, they were amazing."