Four puppies – three beagles and a terrier – who wound up trapped at the bottom of an abandoned mineshaft in Cork are home safe and sound thanks to the Toe Head Coast Guard.

Three of the dogs were retrieved from the 80ft shaft on Monday, but the fourth frightened puppy kept running away from her rescuers. She was finally carried to safety yesterday when her owner, Graham Curley of Leap, Co. Cork, was lowered into the shaft under Coast Guard supervision.

The one-year-old pups, Cracker, Megan, Peggy and Taylor became separated from their owners during a walk on Sunday. Their barks and yelps led their family to the mouth of the abandoned bauxite mine.

The Toe Head Glandore Coast Guard arrived at the scene in order to ensure that the dogs’ owners would not attempt to enter the mine themselves, the officer in charge, Richard Hurley, told the Irish Times.

Cracker, Peggy and Megan were lifted to safety using a bucket and rope but Taylor, said to be the most distressed, kept running away when coast guard officials tried to catch her.

Yesterday, one of the coast guard volunteers, rock climbing instructor Will Gander, accompanied Curley into the mine, hoping that the puppy would respond better to her owner’s voice.

“The dog was cowering and growling and barking at us, she was really scared. The first day she ran from us so having Graham there made a big difference,” Gander told the Irish Times. “He was very calm and relaxed and did exactly as he was instructed.”

Curley, the owner, called it “some experience.”

“I knew I was dead safe but I was nervous. The dog was afraid, she was running about, she didn’t know if she was coming or going, but I was talking away to her to calm her down,” he said.

“She’s definitely traumatized but it’s great to have her back. She’ll have a bit of grub and a warm bed now and the others will be delighted to see her.”