Relief after pup plucked from precarious perch

A Dunedin pup stranded up a cliff for several hours yesterday was finally reunited with her owner last night.

The drama began at 1.30pm when Libby O'Connor (20) was walking Molly, her 1-year-old whippet and blue heeler cross, on Smaills Beach towards Tomahawk Beach.

After two hours of searching, she saw Molly about 10m up a cliff face at Smaills Beach, but was unable to reach her because of the incoming tide.

''I saw her little white legs on the rock and she was stuck.''

Molly started ''howling and barking'' and Miss O'Connor feared the pup would fall, so police were called.

Search and rescue co-ordinator Senior Sergeant Brian Benn, of Dunedin, said police were called at 3.40pm and the rescue was passed to St Kilda Station fire crew.

St Kilda Station officer Kate Hill said a fire crew attended and deemed the rescue too dangerous because of an incoming tide.

Snr Sgt Benn said the rescue was returned to police at 5.30pm and then passed to the St Clair Surf Life Saving Club.

St Clair surf life-savers Rhys McAlevey (22) and Ossian Woods (16) arrived at the cliff face about 7pm.

Mr McAlevey scaled the rock face, reassuring Molly as he climbed. He then lowered the pup to Mr Woods, who was waiting on the ridge below.

Mr McAlevey said this was the third dog rescue from a cliff in the 10 years he had been a life-saver - the others were at Lawyers Head and Smaills Beach.

''It was a straightforward rescue for us.''

Miss O'Connor said she was ''thankful'' the life-savers had rescued Molly, who was ''calm'' and glad to be home at 10pm.

''I don't think she'll be wanting to go to the beach anytime soon.''

- shawn.mcavinue@odt.co.nz

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