A heroic surfer sprang into action when he saw a dog struggling in the sea from his window.
Joe Kinghorn had spotted the beloved pet in the water up to 30 metres from the shore of the beach at Roker and decided to help.
The student had been looking out of his window of his seafront home when he first realised something might be wrong.
The 23-year-old said: “Where we live it looks over the beach. At first I was quite amazed because I thought it was a seal in the water.
“But the longer I watched it appeared to bark and swim around in circles.
“There were people watching and what looked like the dog’s owners stood on the beach calling to it.
“The dog was starting to get really stressed and was just swimming around in circles.
“I’m a regular suffer around Sunderland and Seaburn and I had all of my kit so I out it on, grabbed my board, jumped the garden wall and headed to the beach.”
When he arrived the dog, which Joe believes was a young cocker spaniel, was 20 to 30 metres back from the shore struggling in the waves.
“Normally dogs are quite scared of surfers because they don’t know what they are,” said Joe, who is a pharmacy student at Sunderland University.
“I went around the back of the dog and made it swim in the right direction to make it back to the owners.
“They shouted so say thank you and said the dog had got scared and ran into the water.”
Sunderland Coastguard Rescue Team were called to the incident but Joe’s swift actions meant the dog was back with its owners before the crew arrived and was stood down.
A spokesman for the Coastguard said: “Luckily for the pup a nearby surfer was able to get the dog safely back to shore and out of danger as we were proceeding.
“With this information we were free to return to station.
“If you love dogs like we do please ensure you keep them on a leash around cliffs and water.
“Conditions can be far worse than you realise and it’s very easy for an animal to disappear over a ledge you haven’t seen or be washed out in a current you weren’t aware of.”
The pup was struggling in the water for around 20 minutes before he was returned into the arms of his owners.
Joe, who lives on the seafront, is a regular suffer and says he would never encourage anyone to risk themselves by heading into the water.
“I’d never want people to risk their own safety but I knew I could help,” said Joe.
“I didn’t really do too much, I just helped the dog get to shore and I’d hope someone would do the same for a dog that I have.”