Three weeks ago, a golden retriever named Mac -- vacationing with his owner on the Isle of Wight -- wasn't quite as lucky as his Maltese counterpart. While chasing a rabbit, Mac took an accidental dive off a cliff and plunged 40 feet to the rocks below.
Amazingly, he survived the fall. But not unscathed.
Mac apparently was saved by his collar, which snagged on rocks during his descent, slowing the fall and likely saving his life. The collar was found broken near Mac's body on the ground. "If he hadn't been wearing [a collar], he would have just free-fallen and there's no way he could have survived," owner Margaret Sills told the Daily Mail. Her Majesty's Coastguard rescued Mac and rushed him to a vet, who found he had suffered two broken legs and a collapsed lung.
A team of critical-care vets and orthopedic surgeons at the Broadway Veterinary Hospital performed two separate operations to save Mac's life. "We repaired his fractures by inserting two metal plates and splints to support his legs," said senior nurse Hayley Stevenson.
Throughout the ordeal, Mac's spirits remained high. "On the rocks at the bottom of the cliff, as soon as he saw me his little tail started wagging," Sills told The Sun.
Nurse Stevenson concurred. "He is an amazing dog. Even with all the pain that he was in and not being able to walk, he was full of life and wagging his tail."
Mac spent two weeks in intensive care, and it appears the 18-month-old pooch will bounce back, although he will retain only 50 percent use of one of his damaged legs. He is now home and walking again with the help of two wooden splints on his front legs.
"I can't praise the vets enough for what they have done," said Sills. "I really thought I had lost him"