Two fishermen were left reeling in surprise when they caught a DOG a mile out at sea.
At first when they spotted the animal swimming against the tide they thought it was an otter, but when they realised that it was a dog the two lifted him on board.
Freddie, a 14-year-old cairn terrier, was later reunited with his owner - who revealed that he dislikes water so much that he hates taking a bath and avoids walking through puddles.
Bedraggled: Freddie shivers in the arms of trawlerman Jimmy Thompson after being fished from the North Sea
He had become disorientated in the fog while on a walk with owner Jean Brigstock and had slipped into the water as the 73-year-old searched frantically for him.
And instead of swimming back to shore at Amble, Northumberland, he had mistakenly struck out for the deeps of the North Sea.
Mrs Brigstock said: 'It was a beautiful day, and I was taking him on his usual walk, but all of a sudden, a heavy sea fret set in quickly, and I couldn't see Freddie anymore.
'I looked for him for hours, and others helped. There was no sign of him, but I was convinced he would eventually turn up.'
Saved: Owner Jean Brigstock cradles Freddie on Amble beach in Northumberland after his narrow escape
She added: 'I was desperate. He's my companion and he's so important to me.
'I knew he hated water so I thought he'd head for the dunes rather than the sea. It really didn't enter my head that he would swim.
'He rarely goes through a puddle and has an aversion to baths.'
But Freddie was found three quarters of a mile out to sea after a long doggy paddle and was rescued by trawlermen Jimmy and Alan Thompson from Red Row, Northumberland.
A lifeboat was launched to collect the dog because their trawler was not yet due to return to shore.
By chance, Mrs Brigstock's daughter Wendy, who had taken over the search for Freddie, came across the wife of one of the fishermen, who told her they had found a dog.
Mrs Brigstock adopted Freddie as her own three years ago after his previous owner, a friend, went into a nursing home and was no longer able to look after him.
She said: 'He looked like a drowned rat when they found him.
'I'm so grateful to the two fishermen, the Coastguard and the inshore lifeboat men who took so much trouble to find him and take him to safety.'
Sea-dog Freddie, 14, is no worse for wear after his ordeal. He was taken to the vets but found to be unscathed.
Mrs Brigstock said: 'Freddie is back to his normal self. I'm not surprised he survived - he's a bit of a character really.
'The night he was rescued, he was a little bit under the weather. He was quite quiet and feeling sorry for himself. But the next morning he was ready for his breakfast.'
Fishermen catch a DOG a mile out in North Sea | Mail Online