Puppy survives 100ft Harrogate fall

Rachel and David Riley with Lola (s)
Rachel and David Riley with Lola (s)
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A puppy dog who fell 100ft from Nidd viaduct then swam half a mile down river - needing emergency surgery - has lived to bark another day.

Golden Labrador Lola was yesterday wagging her tail and preparing for the trip home to East Yorkshire with owner Rachel Riley, who was visiting family in Harrogate when the drama unfolded on Sunday.

The pair were walking on the Nidderdale Greenway path for the first time when 20-month-old Lola jumped over the viaduct wall, not knowing what was on the other side, and plunged 100ft into the River Nidd.

Rachel explained: “She just jumped over the left hand side, she probably thought there was grass over the wall, and landed on the water.

“I saw her getting swept under the bridge, so I jumped down the embankment and followed her - she was swimming in the water.

“I followed her for half a mile before she managed to get to shore and walk out. She was dazed and in shock.”

Lola was rushed to OakBeck Veterinary Hospital, where vets quickly realised her lungs had collapsed.

Rachel said: “She had to have surgery to remove the water from her lungs.

“None of us, including the vet can believe that she even survived the fall.”

Rachel returned to her home at North Newbould, but kept in touch with vets, who remain optimistic as they kept Lola until Wednesday afternoon.

She said: “On Monday, I heard that she was eating and wagging her tail.

“She appears to be making a good recovery thanks to the fast respone of the team but she is not out of the woods yet and the recovery process is going be a long one.”

She thanked staff at the vets for saving the pup’s life.

Now, Rachel is calling for Greenway operators Sustrans to install signs warning dog owners of the drop. She said: “It was a freak accident that I will remember for a very long time and I still don’t understand why she jumped over.

“The wall was high and there were a lot of dogs running off the lead.

“We did not know the area and it never crossed my mind to put her on her lead.

“Owners should be warned to put their dogs on a lead whilst walking over this viaduct and others across the country.

“Signs should be put up on these routes, I would hate this to happen to any other dog and for any other owner to witness what we did.”

Sustrans will check the signage on the viaduct, which has been closed in the past following similar incidents involving dogs.