IF Christine Geoffrey didn’t believe in miracles, she does now. Her’s came on Easter.
In the Watagans National Park for a picnic with family and friends on Sunday, the get together turned to emergency when her beloved French bulldog Zeus went missing.
Zeus was exploring the bushland at Heaton Lookout when he inadvertently fell off an estimated 15-metre cliff.
“We were looking everywhere for him,” Ms Geoffrey, of Coal Point, told the Newcastle Herald on Monday.
“I knew he’d run off into the bush, he must have seen something, so I went after him – but then I couldn’t see or hear anything after that.
“He just disappeared.”
Onlookers began to join in and the search for Zeus widened.
Ms Geoffrey guessed that her canine had taken a tumble down the cliff, reasoning “it’s the only place he could have been”.
She called a friend, Peter Vaughn, an abseiler who owns a Wangi Wangi outdoor adventure company, for help.
Mr Vaughn was lowered down. He found Zeus.
The curious canine was stressed but otherwise in a good condition, perched on a ledge about 15 metres down the cliff face.
“I was surprised, that’s for sure,” Mr Vaughn said.
“I didn’t quite know how it was all going to pan out as I was heading down, so I kept it to myself just in case he wasn’t in a good condition.
“To see him there, it was happy days.”
Ms Geoffrey, who said it had been about three hours since Zeus was last seen, was overjoyed.
“It was just absolutely incredible,” she said. “We were amazed, it was the greatest feeling.”
The rescue operation wasn’t over, with attention turning to how to get both Zeus and his brave rescuer back to ground level.
It was no mean feat – but many hands make light work.
Zeus was placed in a backpack and brought up first, while Mr Vaughn was pulled up second.
Eventually the missing pooch emerged from the bush, cradled in the hands of a young man.
“I know everyone loves their dogs, but I love this dog to death,” Ms Geoffrey said of being reunited with her dog. “He was alive. I was just so grateful. All I wanted to do was hold him and all he wanted to do was sit in my lap.”
Zeus was taken to the vet and given the all clear.
As for Zeus’s thoughts on the ordeal, Ms Geoffrey said her dog was acting a touch sheepish.
"We just won’t bring it up, it might embarrass him,” she joked.