Owner praises Chantry Vets after beloved Dachshund survives 40ft cliff fall


Chantry Vets has been praised for its care of a much-loved dog who is lucky to be alive after falling 40 feet onto rocks.


Miniature Dachshund Nellie shot off in pursuit of rabbits up a steep embankment beside the beach in Bridlington, East Yorkshire, leading to a frantic rescue attempt.

Owner Jacqui Darrington, from Brierley, near Wakefield, who was on holiday, left her three other dogs with kind-hearted strangers to rush after her beloved pooch – only to get stuck up the cliff.

Onlookers called HM Coastguard while passers-by rallied to help track four-year-old Nellie as she darted in and out of rabbit holes high up the verge. 

Jacqui managed to slide to safety and followed Nellie’s progress from the beach below until the dog ran out of steam, caught sight of Jacqui and moved towards her – plunging almost 40 feet from the overhanging cliffs onto rocks.

Thanks to a huge team effort, Jacqui managed to move Nellie to a vet practice in Bridlington for emergency treatment where X-rays revealed a fractured scapula - shoulder blade - and injuries to her ribs.

Once stable, Nellie was discharged to her own practice - Chantry Vets - where a CT scan captured detailed internal images to determine the extent of her injuries and whether surgery was required.

Senior vet Fraser Reddick, who is undertaking a postgraduate certificate in Computed Tomorgraphy (CT), was able to use the CT to quickly determine the best course of action.

He said: “The scapula is a flat, broad bone and overlays other bones and soft tissue, so it is very difficult to see the extent of fractures with traditional 2D X-ray images. Trauma to this area and the ribs can also cause significant soft tissue damage and lung injury which can’t be assessed fully on plain x-ray.

“The CT scan showed a complex fracture of the scapula as well as three rib fractures, and also identified bruising to her lung tissue.

“Despite the trauma, Nellie’s injuries did not require surgical treatment and healed on their own, with six weeks of rest and pain relief. A repeat CT scan to check the healing showed that the scapular fracture was healing well. Nellie is doing very well and is back to normal in herself.

“This sort of case really shows the massive benefit of having onsite CT – something that has only been possible relatively recently outside of large referral centres in the veterinary world. I was also able to show Nellie’s owners a rendered 3d model of the scapula and chest, which really helped them to understand exactly the extent of her injuries.”



Jacqui paid tribute to Fraser and the veterinary team at our Brindley Way veterinary hospital for their care of Nellie who has gradually returned to normal exercise since the accident in summer.

She said: “Nellie has been very lucky, and we are so grateful to Fraser and everyone involved at Chantry Vets. We do lots of walking because we also have a Labrador which means Nellie is muscly - they say that cushioned and supported her bones.

“The scan also picked up a protruding disc on her spine which was not connected to the fall so

Chantry Vets is keeping a close eye on her. Chantry have been really kind. We have four dogs and they have always been great with us and genuinely care. It makes a big difference knowing they’re in such safe hands.

“It is now a case of being sensible and keeping Nellie on an extendable lead as we don’t want to risk it happening again.”

Jacqui added: “Dachshunds were originally bred as hunting dogs, and Nellie still has that instinct. The only place we can let her off the lead is the beach because she doesn’t like the water and doesn’t tend to go far. Her recall is fine unless there’s a better offer - and on this occasion, there were rabbits up the cliffs.

“She ran up the grassy part and was running in and out of rabbit holes. I ran up after her but then realised I couldn’t get any further – by then I was 40 feet up and couldn’t get down, but I’d been more concerned about Nellie.

“I am really thankful to those lovely people who helped. I managed to slide down the cliff and walked along the beach watching Nellie who was quite happy running about among the rabbits.

“Half an hour later she looked at me and then just walked towards me, almost in slow motion off the top of the ridge and fell on to rocks. It was a straight drop – slam – on to her right shoulder. She was just laid there. It was awful. The coastguard was really good. Everyone was supportive and came together to help, and I really appreciate that.”

Jacqui’s daughter Ellie Holbrook said she feared the worst when she heard about Nellie’s fall.

She said: “It was horrendous, and we didn’t know how bad the internal damage was until they did the CT scan. We are so lucky to still have her and so thankful to the team at Chantry Vets.”