A man who ”went into panic mode” and ran into the sea to save his dog has been overwhelmed by the kindness of strangers. 

Curtis Johnson, 33, from Sudbury in Suffolk, was visiting friends in Dereham this weekend.

He got up early on Saturday morning so decided to take his dog Rex, a four-year-old Border Collie cross, to Cromer for a morning walk.

The location where Rex jumped over the sea wall, next to Cromer PierThe location where Rex jumped over the sea wall, next to Cromer Pier (Image: Google Maps)

Mr Johnson let him off the lead when they were walking along the promenade and his dog then jumped over the steep sea wall, next to the pier, at 7am - just before high tide. 

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He said: “Rex walks to heel the majority of the time and we usually go to beaches like Clacton-on-Sea where the sea wall is low. 

Four-year-old Border Collie cross RexFour-year-old Border Collie cross Rex (Image: Supplied)

“I didn’t think about it being so high in Cromer. 

“I went into panic mode and started to take my jumper off to follow him over the wall, but a lady held me back.”

He then called 999 and asked for the Coastguard, but after 10 minutes seeing his dog tiring and clawing at the wall he took matters into his own hands.

Curtis Johnson with his best buddy RexCurtis Johnson with his best buddy Rex (Image: Supplied)

He said: “I work as a plumber and heating engineer and he comes with me to work everyday in my van - he is my best buddy and I couldn’t let him drown.”

He took off most of his clothes and ran down a slope into the sea to reach Rex, with members of the public throwing rope and a lifebuoy ring - which he placed his "shivering" pet on until the lifeboat arrived.

They were rescued by the RNLI at 7.30am and both dog and owner are shaken up but only have minor injuries. 

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Mr Jonhson has scratches and Rex pulled the claws off his feet.  

He wants others to learn from his mistake and is urging owners to keep dogs on leads in places where the sea wall is high. 

He added: “‘Rex’s recall is amazing so if it happened to him it could to any dog. 

“I want to thank the Coastguard and RNLI for saving us and the amazing community in Cromer who helped  - including Amy who returned my clothes and possessions.”