Coastguard saves cliff plunge pet

Mark Lanney rescues the stranded canine
Mark Lanney rescues the stranded canine

A GRATEFUL dog owner has thanked coastguards and kind-hearted members of the public for their help in rescuing her beloved pet.

Claire Howell and her husband spent hours looking for Jenson after he disappeared on Saturday, September 10, in the Firehills area of the country park in Fairlight while out on a walk.



His frantic owners put up posters all around Fairlight and Pett without success and eventually Jenson, a cross between a King Charles Cavalier and cocker spaniel had to be winched to safety by coastguards from a cliff ledge - more than 24 hours after going missing.

Mrs Howell said: “We had a really horrible time looking for Jenson. He disappeared at 3.30pm on Saturday while we were out walking with friends.

“We walked around the country park calling until it was dark and the heavens opened.

“With no mobile phone signal on the Firehills, I had to drive away to listen for messages and make calls. My first SOS was to the dog warden service who were brilliant.

“I also rang Greenleaves out-of-hours vets and spoke to a nurse who gave advice and reassurance, as well as local vet Paul Cooper. He immediately came out with his son, a GPS gadget, torch and coat for me. He stayed out as late as we could bear.

“Two complete strangers, after going home on Saturday, came back out in the rotten misty wet windy weather and walked around with us searching for Jenson.”

On Sunday Mrs Howell, of Marchants Drive, Camber, was again out looking for her dog and put up posters in the Firehills. Mr Cooper was already there searching high and low for Jenson.

She said: “My husband and I spent nine hours walking, speaking to as many people as we could, calling for Jenson, and putting up posters in Fairlight and Pett.”

Mr Cooper and his friend Hayley Page took their dogs Whisper and Princess for a search and sniff along the beach that afternoon while the tide was out.

He then spotted Jenson on a ledge below and tried to reach him but was unable. Mr Cooper then rang Mrs Howell.

She said: “I called 999 and coastguards came out. They were brilliant. I would like them to know how grateful my husband and I are. The coastguard do an amazing job and we were so lucky to have their help.

“This was a really emotional weekend, as my husband and I were shattered and worried sick, and I think it tugged on the heart strings of a few local dog lovers. I want them to know that Jenson is safe, and I want people to know what a kind and capable action man Mr Cooper is, along with his friend Hayley.

“They put themselves out for us none the less and may well have saved my dog’s life and my broken heart.”

Bud White, station manager at Hastings Coastguard, said he and his colleagues spent more than two hours looking for Jenson before winching him to safety.

One man went down on a harness and put the dog in a specially adapted bag used for pet rescues before bringing him back to be reunited with his owners.

Mr White said: “The slope was a little too steep for him to get back up. He easily got there in the first place as he is quite an agile dog.”