TWO pet dogs are lucky to be alive after taking a 60ft tumble down cliffs.
The pooches were plucked to safety by lifeboat volunteers in separate incidents, which took place within minutes of each other on Saturday.
Sunderland RNLI crews were first called into action at about 4.45pm, after German Shepherd puppy Mia fell from cliffs near Hendon.
Volunteers on-board inshore lifeboat MyJo found the dog trapped on a rocky beach, which had been cut off by the incoming tide.
After failing to persuade the frightened dog to come to them, the four-man crew picked the owner up from Hendon Promenade slipway and took him to the beach.
He managed to get Mia onto her lead and safely onto the lifeboat, which took them back to dry land.
But just minutes after the frightened dog was saved, they were alerted to a 999 call about Cocker Spaniel Archie, who had fallen from cliffs near Souter Lighthouse,
The charity’s Atlantic 85 lifeboat was launched from Sunderland to join the smaller inshore lifeboat in the rescue bid.
Lifeboats and coastguard teams found the injured dog lying on the rocky beach below and carried him to the lifeboat at the water’s edge.
He was reunited with his grateful owners, who were looking on from the nearby beach.
Senior helmsman Paul Nicholson, from Sunderland RNLI, said: “Both of the dogs involved today have been extremely lucky to survive falls of approximately 60ft onto rocky ground.
“Everyone involved is keeping their fingers crossed that they both make a full recovery and suffer no long term problems.
“In both cases the owners did exactly the right thing by not attempting to rescue their pets, but dialling 999 to inform the Coastguard.
“I don’t know exactly what happened in these cases, but our general advice is that dogs should always be kept on their leads in the vicinity of cliffs.”
Both dogs are thought to be recovering from their ordeal, with Mia suffering a cut under her eye and Archie an injured paw.