Page last updated at 12:19 GMT, Monday, 13 April 2009 13:19 UK

Lucky dog's miracle cliff escape

By Nuala McCann
BBC News

Pic: Kevin McAuley
Laddy, the wonder dog, with her team of coastguard rescuers

Move over Lassie, Laddy is Northern Ireland's new wonder dog.

The miracle hound fell 130 ft off a cliff on the Antrim coast and survived for eight days, trapped in a cave.

Margaret Williamson from Belfast said her family were on holiday in Ballycastle when Laddy, their springer spaniel, went missing.

"He disappeared on Saturday a week ago when my husband was out for a walk. The dog seems to have lost his footing and fallen over a cliff.

"We searched everywhere, all over the cliff. My grandson Conor Donnelly and my friend Teresa Gallagher helped us. There were posters all over Ballycastle and we could not leave the caravan site without Laddy."

On Easter Sunday, a yachtsman spotted the dog out on rocks and tried to get him to swim out to his boat. But Laddy refused.

He contacted the Coastguard and they rushed to the rescue.

A cliff technician scaled the cliff and winched Laddy to safety.

Ian Murdock from the Coastguard said the dog had a lucky escape.

"We are very happy to have recovered the dog. The cliff team did a great job. They used a harness and winch to get it back to the top of the cliff."

"We found the owner's number from a notice in a local chip shop and contacted them," he said.

Mrs Williamson said the dog, who is nearly three years old, was very dehydrated after his ordeal.

He had hurt his leg and had lost a lot of weight, but somehow had survived.

The family is delighted to have their wonder dog back home.

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