As he walked, leashless, alongside his pet parents Saturday afternoon on Anvil Point, a cliff overlooking the English Channel, a Jack Russell Terrier named Spott spotted a rabbit.
As terriers tend to do, Spott bolted after it. His pet parents watched in horror as Spott ran off the cliff, plunging into the sea below. (He fell 90 feet, according to the Swanage – Coastguard Rescue Team blog; the Daily Mail reports it was 120 feet, while the Dorset Echo says it was 30 feet. At any rate, it was a big fall for a small dog.)
Spott’s pet parents immediately notified the Coastguard.
“The patrol searched the area then someone shouted up that they could see Spott at the bottom of the cliff,” Ian Brown, a Coastguard officer, told the Daily Mail. “Amazingly, it turned out that Spott had survived the fall and was alive and well.”
Brown said Spott likely survived by landing in the sea instead of on the rocky shore. Spott even managed to swim to a ledge, where he was found by a recreational climber who had descended the cliff. The climber stayed with the lucky dog and comforted him until help arrived from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).
“Spott was a bit shaken and had a few scratches, but otherwise seemed to be okay,” Becky Mack, a crew member on the RNLI lifeboat, told the Dorset Echo.
Spott was taken to the RNLI station in Swanage, where he was reunited with his very relieved pet parents.
“Our little dog Spott fell over a cliff and we thought we had lost him,” they wrote in a thank-you note posted on the Swanage – Coastguard Rescue Team blog yesterday. “We would like to send our heartfelt thanks to the Coastguard who were brilliant and to the RNLI who rescued Spott.”
This near tragedy illustrates just how important it is to keep your dog on a leash, no matter where you’re going for a walk.
“Always keep your dog on a lead while walking on the cliffs, as most dogs, especially smaller ones, cannot see the cliff edge,” the Coastguard advised in May 2014, when a Black Lab named Pippa also miraculously survived a 90-foot plunge off Anvil Point.
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