Bideford dog lover said he was prepared to bed down in freezing conditions after being unable to carry lame Labrador back to car.

A Bideford dog lover has thanked three complete strangers who helped spare him and his dog from spending the night on Northam Burrows in freezing conditions.

Barrie Sharkey, 70, said he was preparing to ‘bed down’ with golden Labrador Robbie on Wednesday after the animal injured its leg.

“I carried him several hundred yards but he weighs about five stone and I couldn’t walk any further with him; I was exhausted,” he said.

“I didn’t have my mobile phone on me and I was out of my mind with worry. I was on the verge of settling down with him to survive the cold night temperatures when these three people arrived and helped carry him to a point where I could get my car.

“I have no doubt that they saved us from exposure on this cold evening.

“I’d like to say thank-you – without them it could have been very different,” he added.

Thanks to their efforts, Mr Sharkey was able to take Robbie to the Torbridge Veterinary Hospital in Bideford, where his injuries were assessed.

Veterinary nurse Caroline James said Robbie had suffered a soft tissue injury, most likely caused by getting his foot stuck in a hole.

“They are quite common injuries for active dogs on uneven terrain,” she said.