A DOG owner has praised lifeboat volunteers who saved her puppy after it plunged over 60ft cliffs.
Susan Cartwright was walking German Shepherds Mia and Samson near her home in Hendon, Sunderland, on Sunday.
But the afternoon stroll took a dramatic turn when excited Mia bolted over a cliff edge.
Susan, a part-time dental nurse, said: “They were just running about playing as they normally do and they were looking over the side, then just as Mia got there, I don’t know what happened, if the cliff crumbled or she slipped, but I just saw her feet going over the top.”
The nine-month old pup became trapped on the rocky beach below, which was being cut off by the incoming tide.
Panicked Susan, 34, alerted a father and son walking nearby, who contacted Humber Coastguard.
They quickly dispatched Sunderland RNLI crews, who arrived on the scene at 4.45pm.
After failing to persuade the frightened dog to come to them, the four-man crew on-board inshore lifeboat MyJo picked up Susan’s partner Lee Watson, 42, from Hendon Promenade slipway and took him to the beach.
Watched by anxious Susan and their children aged nine and five, Lee, who works for a funeral director, managed to get Mia onto her lead and safely onto the lifeboat, which took them back to dry land.
Susan, who lives in Hastings Street, said: “Mia was shocked and had a slight cut under her right eye.
“We telephoned the vets and they said if anything bad was going to happen to her, it already would have happened and advised us to keep an eye on her.
“I was happy about the way she was, because she was wanting to play.
“I would just like to thank everyone, especially the lifeboat people and the guys on top of the cliffs.”
Just minutes after the frightened dog was saved, Sunderland RNLI 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.
Archie is thought to be recovering from his ordeal, after suffering an injured paw.
Senior helmsman Paul Nicholson, from Sunderland RNLI, said: “Both of the dogs involved were 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.”