beachcombing, Breda O'Sullivan, dog, dogs, Frank Hayostek, good news, happy news, lost and hound, message in a bottle, Sting
The Message in a Bottle Finding Doggos Who Fetched Treasure
I love doggos. I love their intelligence and their remarkable curiosity–I know dogs who simply can’t sniff enough things in this life to be satisfied. Maybe it shouldn’t be surprising that so many doggos have found messages in bottles, but it flips me out! This post is dedicated to all the messages in bottles found by doggos yappers, puppers, woofers, and floofers out there. These doggos have found some truly fascinating messages in bottles–one even saved a life.
Sheba the Irish Rescue Dog Finds a Message in a Bottle in England
I’ll start with Sheba the rescue dog. Sheba’s human is Idris Martin.
Idris says that Sheba was rescued in Ireland by a dog rescue charity.
They were out for a walk together on the beach in Weymouth, which is on the south coast of England. Like many doggos, Sheba loves a good round of fetch–but, as you may recall from her appearance in the Dodo, her quirk is that she prefers to fetch bottles full of water, like so:
So, Idris walked along, tossing a full water bottle for Sheba–until she returned with this instead of the bottle of water:
As reported by The Dodo, Idris did indeed write back. In fact, he made contact with the family who sent the bottle, and you can see the whole story here in a video made by Idris himself:
Truly an incredible find, Sheba! Well done.
This story makes me wonder… We all know that dogs can learn commands in any language. But…do doggos in different regions develop different accents? I mean, do English doggos sound brilliant and charming to American doggos? Or is that just a human thing?
British Golden Retriever Finds a Message in a Bottle (Again!)
Check out this next English beachcombing woofer!
That’s Brodie at age 11. What a regal beach guardian 🙂 As you can see, he’s holding his find in his mouth.
In that bottle is a message from a class of 5 year old primary school students. According to the Border Telegraph, the message says:
Dear the person who finds this bottle,
We are boys and girls in a P1 class at school. We are all 5 years old (apart from our teacher who is slightly older!)
Yesterday we were learning about floating and sinking. We had an idea to try a message in a bottle.
One child knew it would have to be in a plastic bottle so that it floats.
We are sending our bottle in the sea at Portobello near Edinburgh. Please write to us to tell us where the bottle ends up and who you are.
We look forward to hearing from you.
We are an eco school and would like you to recycle the bottle once you’ve read the message.
Primary 1 and Mrs Johnston
Brodie’s human, Brian Millar, wrote back on Brodie’s behalf, explaining that this was actually the second time Brodie has found a message in a bottle:
“Dear girls, boys, and Mrs Johnston,
I walk along the beach here in Lower Largo every morning and evening with my 2 golden retriever dogs.
Yesterday my old dog, called Brodie, picked up your bottle that you had put in the sea at Portobello last week. He loves carrying plastic bottles and tennis balls that he finds. He carried it all the way home, then I read your message.
That is the second bottle he has found with a message in it!
I cannot believe it has only taken 4 days to get blown across the Firth of forth, but then it has been very windy! Also the bottle is very light.
All the bottles my dogs carry home are recycled by Fife Council so that is good, as our beach is covered in bottles that people throw away – I wish they would take them home with them!
It really spoils our beach but my dogs always carry them home, so they are helping to keep our beach tidy.
I hope you enjoy school,
Regards to you and your teacher Mrs Johnston,
I just love the way Brodie’s message in a bottle helped make a friendship between the senders and the finder. I also love the gentle way Brian points out that plastic bottles are a plague on the environment. Of course, they also do a poor, poor job of protecting messages compared to glass. I hope if Mrs. Johnson’s class repeats this exercise, they will use only glass and cork.
German Shepherd Discovers Message in a Bottle on Bermuda
Now to a different island: Bermuda!
One day in 2015, LuVince Cann was out for a beach walk with his German Shepherd, Prince, when Prince zeroed in on a plastic bottle with paper inside.
As The Royal Gazette reported in 2015:
Inside the bottle he discovered two letters, both written on Marriot Residence Inn stationary. One letter, signed Kristi, urged anyone who found the letter to contact her by e-mail, adding: “Life is short. Fill your heart with love and die happy.”
The second letter was written in memory of her father, whom she described as “my best friend and the best dad in the universe”.
Mr Cann said: “It’s dated December 30, 2014, so it’s not that old, but how did it get here? That’s what’s interesting to me.” He reached out to the writer, who responded yesterday that she had placed the message in the sea on New Year’s Eve while on vacation in the Isle of Palms, South Carolina — 878 miles to the Island’s west.
She wrote: “I placed my message in the ocean to honour my dad, who passed earlier in the year.
“Amazingly enough, I got to see a falling star fall down into the ocean after I put the message in the water. I knew my dad was smiling down at me at that moment.”
King Charles Spaniel Finds Message in a Bottle in England
Okay–back to the UK, where dogs apparently find messages in bottles quite frequently…
Most of the dogs in this post are a little on the larger side. But when it comes to finding messages in bottles, Max the King Charles Spaniel shows that even little fellers can keep up! Here’s a tiny photo of Max and his people holding the message in a bottle he found, from the Lincolnshire Echo:
Max was walking the beach with his people, Monica and Andrew, when he ran up to a bottle with paper inside and waited for the humans to catch up. Inside, they discovered a letter from a young Belgian boy named Merlijn, just four and a half years old.
On behalf of Max, Monica and Andrew wrote the sender and made contact! Merlijn and Max’s owners began writing each other, and Merlijn and his family eventually traveled to England to meet Max, Monica, and Andrew. Here they are all together, courtesy of the Lincolnshire Echo:
Of course, like messages in bottles, dogs are great at bringing people together. Well done, Max!
British Black Lab Finds Message in a Bottle at Waxham Beach in England
Among my favorite messages in bottles found by doggos is the one found by Molly the rescued Labrador! She’s also from the UK.
Molly’s person is Kate Gabriel:
Kate explained to the Eastern Daily Press:
“We go out walking every morning…and she loves me throwing things for her. But she picked up this bottle, and…I called her over and there was a message inside it. I’ve always wanted to find a message in a bottle.”
I was lucky enough to get to email with Kate a bit about Molly’s find, and here’s what she told me:
When I was a child…an annual visit to the seaside at Filey was a magical treat. I spent hours beachcombing and peering in rock pools, so anything of interest, from seaglass to an unusual pebble, were real treasures…I moved to Norfolk, just a few miles from the coast, 6 years ago so now we can walk on the beach whenever we like.
Molly is a rescue Labrador we adopted nearly 4 years ago. She had never been walked outside, let alone been to the beach. A few trips to our favourite beach at Waxham soon found her swimming in the sea and playing ‘fetch’ with found objects, usually pieces of rope, driftwood sticks or plastic bottles.
This is how she came to find Nicolas’s message. When Molly brought me the bottle I could see that there was something inside it and was delighted and amazed that it was a message in such good condition.
Both Idris Martin and Kate Gabriel were playing fetch with their dogs (both rescue dogs) when the dogs happened to return with messages in bottles. Could the dogs have known something was different about these bottles full of paper?
Kate went on to tell me:
When I brought the message home it was quite easy to translate from French to English… Within a day I wrote back to Nicolas Meulemans and his family to let then know that their message had been found.
The message was well thought through and carefully put together. The bottle was screwed shut then sealed with mastic. I know now that the Meulemans were on a day trip to the coast so Nicolas must have prepared it before they set off from home. Nicolas sent a great reply to my letter–loads of photos and postcards.
We may maintain a correspondence or even meet up. Who knows? We have certainly made a connection across the sea – Brexit or no Brexit we have friends in Europe.
And that–right there–is part of what makes messages in bottles so powerful. At a time when people are intensely divided politically and socially, here we have two real families cutting through all the TV and media nonsense and saying something like “Look, we’re going to be friends regardless of what our governments are doing. This connection is more powerful than their divisive rhetoric.” Messages in bottles provide a way around the political walls built by governments. They enable “renegade friendships” in a way that I really think nothing else can match.
Kate told the Eastern Daily Press, “It was a really sweet little letter, and to think it came all the way over here is brilliant.”
Some might even call Molly’s discovery “magical“.
And do you know what to call a dog who does magic?
Wait for it…
A dog who does magic is called…
Yes! I finally got to use that joke! That one comes to you courtesy of my beachcombing and life partner, Kate. Please direct all groans and rolled eyes at her.
Oscar the Irish Sheep Dog Finds a Fateful Message in a Bottle
This next story has a hint of magic to it, too, though the story doesn’t have an exactly “happy” ending.
One of the most famous messages in bottles of all time was actually found by a dog. Frank Hayostek was a soldier returning from WWII in December 1945 when he sent a message in a bottle from the ship on which he was stuck at sea on Christmas day. He had already spent a few Christmas holidays away from home, and his loneliness is palpable in the message. You can get pretty much the whole story from my post on Frank Hayostek’s message in a bottle, or if you have the time, check out this fantastic podcast from Peter Mulryan. Basically, Frank wrote the note out of loneliness, seeking friendship.
About nine months later, Breda O’Sullivan was walking her dog Oscar on the beach when, as she writes to Frank: ” [Oscar] was running before me, and I saw him stop and sniff something lying on the sand, and then he went off in pursuit of a seagull. I found the object was a brown bottle, and I saw there was a paper in it. The cork of the bottle crumbled in my fingers. How the note kept dry, nobody can understand. So, I sat there on the beach, and I read it. I thought at first I was dreaming…Wishing you ever good look, your loving friend, Breda.”
Following this first connection, Frank and Breda wrote to each other for years. There’s quite a bit more to the story, but in any case, Frank eventually visited Breda. Here he is with Breda’s dog, Oscar (who found the bottle) and Breda’s cows grazing in the background.
And here’s Breda:
Eventually, both Frank and Breda married other people, raised families, and fell out of touch. Late in life, Frank remembered his experience with Breda as the great unrequited love story of his life.
Ben the Sheepdog Saves a Life by Finding a Message in a Bottle
Maybe it’s the combination of their curiosity and attentiveness–but whatever the reason, dogs, as a species, are no stranger to saving humans.
Robert Sinclair was staying in an abandoned farmhouse in Stirlingshire, Scotland, when he became seriously weak after not eating or drinking anything for several days. In the midst of this, he suffered an asthma attack that put him firmly on the floor. Robert recognized his desperate situation, and he turned to a tried and true, legendary way of requesting help: He put a message in a bottle. But what could such a bottle possibly accomplish, dropped, as it was, out of a farmhouse window? There was no sea to wash it ashore, no friendly tides to bring it to friendly lands.
Enter Ben the Sheepdog! Ben the Mighty! Ben, the Savior of Men!
Ben’s person is Brian Besler:
Ben, who lived with Brian “three fields away” according to the BBC article on this incident, was out for a trot when he discovered Robert’s bottled plea for help.
The BBC reports that Brian Besler said:
“There was a message in it asking for help, it said Robert had been lying there for more than two weeks, he was ill, he couldn’t breathe right, his chest was clogged up and he’d run out of food and water.
“I thought it was a wind-up until I saw the name – Robert’s well-known round here as a bit of a recluse – and went to the police.”
The article explains that Brian led police to the farm where Robert lay suffering. Then, they took him to the hospital where he received treatment.
I have a feeling there are more dogs out there who have found messages in bottles, and I hope this story floats around enough that their humans will reach out and share their tails. Er, tales…
Sting’s Dog Was the First to Hear the Song “Message in a Bottle”
Bonus message in a bottle dog story!
Songfacts.com reports that Sting’s dog was the first being to hear the main guitar riff for his hit song, “Message in a Bottle”!
Songfacts writes: “The first person to hear the guitar riff for this song was not a person at all, but Sting’s dog. “I used to play it over and over again to my dog in our basement flat in Bayswater,” Sting wrote in Lyrics By Sting, “and he would stare at me with that look of hopeless resignation dogs can have when they’re waiting for their walk in the park. Was it that hopeless look that provoked the idea of the island castaway and his bottle? I don’t know, but the song sounded like a hit the first time we played it. The dog finally got his walk, and this song was our first number-one in the UK.”
More Messages in Bottles Found by Doggos?
So far, there have been at least 7 messages in bottles found by doggos, or 8 if you count both of Brodie’s. When will the next pupper find a message in a bottle? Do you know a dog who has found a message in a bottle? Let me know, and I will feature them here!
More About Messages in Bottles
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Pet Barrier said:
All these stories are just more proof how amazing dogs are. No wonder we love them so much. -Ellie