Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Frantic bid to aid cliff fall dog Rover

Rover
Image caption Vets are hopeful that they can save Rover's legs with the operation

A dog that plunged nearly 400ft (130m) off a sheer cliff in Northern Ireland is being treated by vets in Glasgow.

Two-and-a-half-year-old Rover, whose owner Roxanne Peggie lives near Kirkcaldy in Fife, accidentally fell at a beauty spot in Limavady on Thursday.

He has now been brought back to Scotland where veterinary neurologists are working to save him.

Despite having no injuries to any of his organs and no major bone breakages, Rover needs about £8,000 of treatment.

Ms Peggie, 23, and her partner Barry Blyther, 43, have now begun a fundraising drive to pay for Rover's operation.

Falconer Ms Peggie told the BBC that she and Mr Blyther had parked their car at the beauty spot near Limavady - which in Gaelic means "the dog's leap".

Within seconds of getting out to stretch their legs, German pointer Rover bounded over a small wall at the cliff.

When Ms Peggie peered over, she saw Rover precariously perched on a tiny ledge and then lose his balance and fall.

She said: "We thought that the dog was a goner. I will never forget the sight of him falling. I would never have thought he would have survived such a fall.

"When we looked down, we saw him moving really slowly. I was absolutely amazed that he was alive. He was dragging his legs behind him."

Rough terrain

On seeing that Rover was alive, Mr Blyther made his way to the dog and called the police.

However, the local force said they were unable to help as no people were injured.

He then left Rover and set off back to his holiday cottage to get help and embark on a rescue.

Mr Blyther said: "Five of us made our way back to Rover and made a kind of stretcher using jackets. I really thought he would be dead by the time we got to him but he had managed to move about 10 feet."

Image caption Rover fell nearly 400ft to the bottom of the cliff at Limavady

It took the team more than four hours to carry the dog over the rough terrain and get him to a vet in Limavady.

However, the early relief the couple experienced after finding Rover's organs were intact and that he had not broken any major bones, was tempered by the news that two of his vertebrae were damaged.

Under instruction from the vet, the couple brought Rover back to Scotland where they were advised that only a specialist team, based at the University of Glasgow's vet school, could save him.

Now they are trying to raise the thousands of pounds needed to pay for the operation, which will involve a specialist procedure carried out by a veterinary neurologist, and an MRI scan.

Mr Blyther said: "I'm so ashamed that we're in a position where our dog's life depends on us being able to come up with a large sum of money. Even if we sold our car, we would only raise about half what we need."

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