A cliff-edge LEGXIT

Dex­ter was risk­ing life and bro­ken limbs to re­unite with Bethany...

Real People - - QUICK READS - Bethany Boyle, 17, Wheat­ley Hill, Co. Durham

Tiny pieces of fab­ric cov­ered my bed­room car­pet.

‘What have you done?!’ I yelled at Dex­ter, my New Zealand hunt­away and bor­der col­lie cross.

A rub­ber sole hung from his mouth as he peered up.

It was all that re­mained of my brand-new Con­verse train­ers!

Eight-year-old Dex­ter, who I’d adopted from a res­cue shel­ter in Oc­to­ber 2016, chomped any­thing.

For­get bones and chew sticks – he liked to munch on mat­tresses and bed cov­ers!

But I could never be mad at my mis­chievous mutt for long.

A quick droop of those fluffy ears and he’d won me over.

Dex­ter was never naughty on walks, though.

He’d ven­ture off, but al­ways came back when he was called.

Then, on an af­ter­noon in

March 2018, with my pal, El­liot, 23, I took him to a new spot. A cliff and beach that was only a short bus ride away.

Around 10 min­utes in, he dis­ap­peared into the long grass. I stood and waited.

I shouted his name over and over. Noth­ing.

‘Where could he be?’ I said to El­liot. ‘He al­ways comes back!’ We searched the cliff, fran­ti­cally. But the steps lead­ing down to the bot­tom were a mile away, and it was get­ting dark.

‘You need to come home,’ said my gran, Su­san, 58, on the phone as it reached mid­night. Cry­ing, I got the bus. But the next morn­ing, at 6am, I headed back out.

Some fam­ily friends, Steven and Made­line, joined in the hunt, bring­ing their dog, Deefer. They lived a few min­utes from the cliff, and knew the way down to the beach.

As we reached the bot­tom, Deefer barked.

‘Dex­ter’s in the rocks!’ shouted Made­line.

Run­ning over, I saw streaks of blood.

He wasn’t mov­ing. He was at the bot­tom of the 130ft drop. His front paw twisted up­wards. ‘Please don’t be dead,’ I sobbed. As I got closer, his tail twitched. I col­lapsed next to him, re­lieved.

Gran called the fire bri­gade from home, wary about us car­ry­ing Dex­ter’s frag­ile body up the steps.

They ar­rived 10 min­utes later with a stretcher.

They car­ried Dex­ter up to the cliff, where Gran met us in her car.

Soon, we were at Wear Re­fer­rals, a vet hospi­tal in Brad­bury.

‘Dex­ter’s bro­ken both of his front legs,’ said a vet.

I winced in hor­ror at the X-ray.

‘He must have been in so much pain,’ I sobbed.

But the bill to in­sert metal plates to fuse Dex­ter’s bones and wrists was £6,000.

‘We can’t af­ford that!’ Gran said. We set up a Gofundme page. Within 24 hours, it reached £1,500.

So Gran bit the bul­let, and Dex­ter went in for surgery.

I’ll be pay­ing her off till

I’m a pen­sioner!

But it was worth it.

Af­ter a few weeks, Dex­ter was zoom­ing across our liv­ing room – though it’s more of a bunny hop now – for a corned beef pie!

And he’s back to his usual self, chomp­ing on my bed­spread!

legs Dex­ter’s two front were shat­tered I’m so grate­ful to have him back in one piece

He had to be stretchered off the beach

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