A golden Labrador’s inquisitive nature was nearly her undoing after a scent trail led her to drop 90ft over the edge of a cliff in Dorset.
Miraculously, five-year-old Tessa cheated death when she landed on a soft bed of seaweed at the foot of the sheer cliff-face.
Tessa’s owners, Alan and Jill Mitchell from Harrow, began searching for their dog while walking near Old Harry Rocks in Dorset after she had disappeared into the undergrowth after an animal’s scent.
To their horror, they spotted Tessa staggering about at the foot of the cliffs, having dropped into the cove below, which was completely inaccessible from above.
Police were later able to reach the inlet by sea, where they found Tessa dazed, but having suffered only bruising to her leg, as the air-bubbles in the seaweed had acted as a shock absorber.
A spokesman for Portland Coastguard told Horse & Hound Online that all too often holiday-makers’ dogs will be lost as they have no experience of cliffs and do not understand the dangers.
“They will just do what dogs do and chase rabbits or seagulls, with no idea that the land will suddenly fall away,” she says.
“Tessa was very lucky, but we often find dead dogs on the beach. I have a Labrador of my own, whohas been brought up walking next to cliffs, but I would never let her off a long lead near the cliff edge, as dogs will impulsively chase things.
“We would recommend all walkers to adhere to common sense and keep dogs on a long lead. Cliffs should be treated as if they were walking their dog next to a busy road.”