'Heartbreaking': Beloved dog drowns after getting pulled under reef by rip
ESPERANCE, AUSTRALIA: A dog owner was devastated after she lost her beloved pet who got sucked into a dangerous reef gap at a West Australian beach. A three-year-old Australian shepherd, Mushu, was swept into a break in the reef by a rip as the owner Georgia Crook, her partner, and their two dogs were swimming at Mile Beach in Esperance over the weekend. "He was helpless. It was so heartbreaking,” the dog owner, Crook, recalled.
“It all happened in about two seconds and in front of our eyes,” Crook said. “I knew instantly he was gone and we weren’t getting him back. In spite of being farming dogs, these pampered pups have never done a day’s work in their lives," as per 7News. Mushu was sucked under by a current despite being meters away from the couple. Bowman, their other pet dog tried everything to save his pet friend. He barked and had to endure severe cuts as he desperately scanned the reef. Georgia shared a heartbreaking tribute for her adorable pet Mushu on her Instagram page. “Tears fall for a reason and they are your strength, not weakness.” - Charlie Mackesy Rest easy beautiful boy," she captioned the post.
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'It’s not the first time this has happened'
The couple ultimately made the agonizing choice to return home before sharing their story on a community social media group. They hoped to be able to bring Mushu home to be buried if he was discovered. Yet when other people at the same location shared similar experiences, they were shocked. “So sorry to hear this. Unfortunately, it’s not the first time this has happened. It really is dangerous,” one person responded. “I worry for anyone swimming near these spots. It should be covered with mesh and sign-posted. (It’s) so sad.” Another said that their own pet also died in the same beachfront location. “Sorry to hear about this. I lost my dog many years ago in the same spot,” they said. A local who lives just up the road and is familiar with the beach said, “that corner runs hard." “There would have been nothing you could have done,” they said.
Call for more explicit warning signs
The distraught dog owner demanded more explicit warnings as it may result in harm or death to other animals or a child. The 11 Mile Beach is classified as "very dangerous" by Beachsafe, with a general hazard rating of 8/10. It also issues rip warnings. Crook said, “It wasn’t deep water and it was still. I’m 33 weeks pregnant, so I was on the beach side of the reef." Although there is a sign at the beach, she claimed that warnings regarding the gap should be placed just where the reef splits in order to protect swimmers and children. They have subsequently brought up the notion to their council. I’m most worried it could happen to a child. I had friends with children playing there on Australia Day,” Crook said as per the news outlet.
The Shire of Esperance asserted that change is imminent and that it takes coastal safety extremely seriously. It has installed widespread signage alerting people to potential dangers including strong currents and slick rocks at access points to the shore. “The Shire does not have management over this beach, which is why the safety signage we provide is located at the access points,” a spokesperson said. “We can confirm that Shire officers have already been working in partnership with Surf Life Saving WA, who have carried out a coastal risk assessment and advised on updated signage. “The coastal hazard signage on the Esperance tourist loop and town areas will be updated as a priority,” they added as per 7News.