A lifeboat team rescues a dog from the freezing waters of the North Sea

When the Hartlepool lifeboat team got a call from the coastguard about a dog swimming out to sea off the coast at Horden, near Durham, they didn’t hesitate.

“We react in the same way, whether its human or animal – our job is to save lives, ” said lifeboat helmsman Gary Waugh. “The dog had gone out about a quarter of a mile. She was facedown, unconscious in the water.

“A witness said she’d obviously been frightened by something and had just kept swimming.

“At first, we thought she was dead, but we rubbed her body continuously for 15 minutes and she began to respond. We gave her oxygen and headed back to the station. Initially, we didn’t give her much of a chance.”

The soaking Lurcher was taken to Clifton Lodge Veterinary Surgery where she registered zero temperature and she remained unconscious for more than four hours. However, the Lurcher, estimated to be less than a year old, has defied all expectations and pulled through.

Next morning she had made a remarkable recovery and has since captured the hearts of the veterinary staff.

Senior nurse atClifton Lodge, Val Monck, said: “She absolutely perfect now. She’s timid but now we have got to know her, she is very affectionate and playful. “

The dog has not yet been claimed and is to be rehomed by the RSPCA at Great Ayton in Middlesborough.