Stranded puppy Pepper in six-hour Southend coast rescue

Stranded puppy Pepper in six-hour Southend coast rescue


The owner of a puppy at the centre of a dramatic six-hour rescue off the east coast has praised emergency services and the community for their "amazing efforts" to save her dog.

Seven-month-old Pepper got loose on marshes near Leigh-on-Sea on Saturday.

The coastguard, RNLI, Essex fire service and local volunteers spent hours trying to catch the puppy as she ran between the mudflats.

Pepper's owner said they plan to raise funds to thank the services involved.

The puppy, which is a miniature dachshund-cross-jackapoo, "has longer legs than your average sausage dog, hence all the running", owner Harriet Weaver said.

She became "spooked" while playing off the leash on Chalkwell beach at about 12:00 BST on Saturday.

"She's very well-trained but she just ran and ran," Mrs Weaver said.

Members of HM Coastguard Southend spotted her "about 200 yards (183m) offshore" and the RNLI Southend hovercraft was launched, but Pepper kept disappearing.

"After approx 2.5hrs chasing the puppy back and forth, [it] then made its way to Two Tree Island where at first the Southend Hovercraft got close on the marshes but it then [the dog] disappeared for approx 3hrs," the coastguard wrote on its Facebook page.

"It was getting dark, the rain was lashing down and it was blowing a gale," Mrs Weaver said.

"Everything out there looked like a tiny black dog, including the rocks."

Members of local lost and found dogs group, Tilly's Angels, came out to help, and Essex fire service arrived with thermal imaging equipment.

Fire crews were eventually "able to snatch the puppy with minutes to spare from the incoming tide, which was due to cover the area [she] was trapped on".

Pepper was exhausted and slept all Sunday, "but today you wouldn't know it had happened", Mrs Weaver said.

"We know we are so lucky and can't thank everyone enough for their amazing efforts.

"We're planning to raise some funds for all those who helped bring our puppy home safely."

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