A DOG that survived 45 days trapped on a beach after falling around 500ft from a clifftop is now “well on the road to recovery”, according to the Ringwood vets that operated on him.

Shadow, an 18-month Shar Pei, went missing on the Dorset coast after he slipped out of his harness during a walk between Golden Cap and Eype on May 9.

Amber Whiting and her family spent hours each day searching the area, but to no avail, and it was feared that Shadow had been stolen.

However, the pup was found on Eype Beach last month by holidaymakers and reunited with his family.

He was very unwell, though, having fed on sticks, stones and seaweed to survive while suffering a broken leg after his fall.

Friends of the family set up a Go Fund Me page to help pay for Shadow’s treatment as Amber did not have insurance for him.

But when veterinary surgeons at the Ringwood-based Southern Counties Veterinary Specialists heard about Shadow’s survival story, they offered to perform his surgery at a reduced price.

Specialist orthopaedic surgeon Phil Witte, who operated on Shadow, said: “It is a pleasure to get involved in Shadow’s recovery following this extraordinary story of survival against the odds.

“Realigning the fractured bone was complicated because it had healed in an unusual orientation, but I was pleased with the end result of the surgery and hope Shadow will now have an uncomplicated convalescence and a return to normal function on the limb.”

Amber said her family was “so grateful” to everyone who supported Shadow.

“It’s been a very long and emotional few months. We were absolutely devastated when he went missing at those cliffs. We and many other volunteers, including the coastguard, DogLost volunteers and drone owners, searched for over a week. What followed was an awful experience because we didn’t know what happened to him. The not knowing if he was alive, living out in the wild, or stolen by a gang of dog thieves was horrendous. I spent many nights crying and my children were in a terrible state,” she said.

“When we had the call to say he’d been found we couldn’t believe it. He was so skinny my husband didn’t recognise him. Thank god the RSPCA’s Ken had scanned him. We quickly went from the massive high of finding him to the shock and upset of seeing just how much weight he had lost and the state of his leg.

“He’d been living on stones, twigs and seaweed. He had to have a lifesaving stomach operation – even now we’re still building up his strength.

“Now that his leg has been fixed we feel he can truly start to heal up and get well again. We’re so grateful he’s been given so much love and support from people. Thank you so much for helping us with Shadow.”