A heartbroken dog owner has spoken of her devastation after her puppy was blown into the sea by a strong gust of wind and drowned.
Rita Greig, from Amble, has admitted that she and her family are at a loss without their beloved 13-month-old pug Dora, following the tragic incident on Sunday.
In what Rita has described as a freak accident, the cute pooch was blown over the harbour wall – close to the pier by Amble Little Shore – by strong winds and swept into the water. She tried to save her ‘gorgeous’ pet, but to no avail.
Devastated Rita said: “We are absolutely heartbroken, it is so sad.
“We are at a loss without her; Dora was such a gorgeous dog.”
Following the incident, she has urged others to be cautious of strong winds.
She added that she has seen young children sitting on the harbour wall and fears that they could suffer the same fate.
Describing the moment that tragedy struck on Sunday, Rita said: “I was walking our two pugs – Dora and two-year-old Jazz – at the Little Shore at just after 9am.
“As you come off the beach, there’s some steps, so I went to put them both on their leads.
“As I was putting the lead on Jazz, Dora, for some reason, was being silly and running around in a circle.
“Then the wind picked her up, blew her over the wall and out into the sea.
“The wind was so strong that she was getting blown further and further out – I was calling for help; there was nothing I could do and there was nobody about at the time.
“I tried to swim in after her, but I am not the strongest swimmer.
“She was trying to swim to me, but the wind kept blowing her back.
“She had a jumper on because it was cold, but the weight of the jumper was not helping her.”
Rita said that somebody did eventually pass by the scene and went to get help from the town’s lifeboat crew.
She said: “Dora had been in the water for about 10 minutes. She was already dead and all I could do was just watch her floating about.
“The lifeboat crew came quickly and they recovered her body from the water. It is really, really sad.”
Rita said that Dora was a well-known dog in Amble, having won best puppy and best-dressed dog at the town’s annual Puffin Festival.
Following the incident, she warned of the dangers of high winds. She said: “Sometimes I have seen young children sitting on that wall and I fear that if the wind is strong enough, a small child could be blown off.”
Last year, Warkworth Harbour Commission controversially introduced a dog ban at the Little Shore, from May until the end of September, in a bid to tackle fouling problems.
However, the ban did not go down well with everybody, with critics believing it would be hard to police and claiming that responsible dog walkers who pick up after their pooches were being made to suffer for the few that don’t. During the ban, dogs were able to go onto the pier area.