THIS is the moment a relieved pet owner is handed back her dog after being rescued by firefighters.
Ellie, the Cocker Spaniel, fell three metres down slippery banks near Finchdale Priory in Durham when her owner took her out for a walk.
Firefighters from Durham City were called in and used specialist equipment to pluck the four-year-old pooch to safety.
The rescue – which happened at about 1pm on Wednesday – took about 45 minutes and Ellie was not injured in the ordeal.
A spokesman for Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service said: “It’s not a normal rescue, but we don’t want the owners putting themselves in danger by trying to rescue the dog. We would rather rescue the dog than have to rescue people
“It is quite rare, but at this time of year it is worth mentioning that people walking their dogs need to keep an eye on them around frozen lakes and ponds.
“The easiest thing is to keep pets on a lead.”
Finchdale Priory was once a holiday retreat for monks from Durham Cathedral and was founded on the site of a retired pirate’s hermitage.