A tiny pug which was blown into a harbour by a gust of wind drowned after being dragged under the water – by the weight of its hand-knitted jumper.
Tragic puppy Dora was famous for the smart outfits made by her owner Rita Greig and had won several ‘best dressed dog’ awards at local festivals.
Tragedy struck during a seaside walk as pug puppy Dora was blown over a wall and plunged 12ft into the freezing North Sea.
She desperately tried to paddle back to shore but it is believed the weight of the red-and-white knitted jumper she was wearing hampered her efforts.
Heartbroken Rita, 55, watched helplessly as her pet was swept away.
“It was such a freak accident,” she said. “Me and my daughter are absolutely devastated. She blew over the wall. It is only a couple of feet high.
“I took my coat off and went down to look for her and began swimming, but the sea was that rough that she was blown further and further away.
“I normally put coats on my dogs and somebody said to me afterwards the weight of the jumper wouldn’t have helped her.
“She only weighed about 2kg.”
Rita, of Little Amble, Northumberland, proudly knitted a wardrobe of outfits for Dora and her other pug, Jazz.
Shortly before her death Dora had won two awards at a local festival, ‘best puppy’ and ‘best-dressed dog’, for a knitted red cowboy costume she appeared in.
Tragedy struck last Sunday (19/03) as Rita and her daughter Grace walked the dogs at the harbour in Little Amble.
Rita said: “At the end of the harbour there is the pier, then there is the shore where you are allowed to take the dogs. I was going to walk them down there.
“I’d headed back to the pier when a gust of wind just blew her away from me and she bounced over the wall.”
Rita tied Jazz to the pier as she ventured into the water to try to reach Dora, but soon realised her own life was at risk.
She said: “Dora wouldn’t even jump in a puddle, she would skip around it. It was heartbreaking to watch her drowning.
“It was silly to even attempt to get in after her. My daughter could’ve been crying for two of us.”
Passers-by who saw the distressing scene were brought to tears as Dora was well-known in the town for her mini outfits, including a Minion costume, and loved to be petted.
“I could never have foreseen it in a million years,” said Rita.
“It was just horrible watching her. The lifeboat was called out but she was drowned even before somebody could help.
“It was the worst thing I have ever seen in my life. Just watching her I was crying, and people were coming to see what was wrong.”
She added: “We had a terrible 30 minutes when we had to leave Jazz with Dora’s body so she knew she wasn’t coming back.
“We all miss her. People have been saying to me ‘I can’t believe we wont see Dora again.’
“She went to the market every day, there is one stall holder who would always save scraps for the dogs. When I went back with only one dog he said ‘don’t tell me what’s happened.’
“If somebody gave them attention, they loved it.
“They loved people to touch them. I was so proud of them.”
The community had fundraised £200,000 for a lifeboat, but Rita said if there had been lifebelts on the pier she would not have thought twice about staying in the water longer to try to reach Dora.
She said: “I think the more people that are aware, the better – it could have been a toddler.
“It was just such a freak accident.
“I never expected it to happen, I don’t think anyone else would. I hope it stops another person losing a dog, people need to be aware of the wind.
“This was just a general windy Sunday.”