A RELIEVED mum admitted she feared the worst when her nine-week-old pup got stuck in the back of a washing machine.
But the lovable pooch is back to her excitable best after firefighters took 50 minutes to painstakingly set her free.
Clare Smalley, 24, said it was “horrible” to come home and find much-loved Cassie with her head stuck in a three-inch hole in the washing machine.
The mum-of-three went outside due to the distress of hearing the pooch cry continuously and admitted she did not think the pup was going to make it out alive.
Firefighters raced to the scene and after a near hour-long struggle, managed to free the Staffordshire/Patterdale cross-breed terrier.
Clare described her delight at walking back into the house and seeing Cassie wrapped in a towel and being held by firefighters alive and well.
The ordeal took its toll and Cassie was “quiet and sleepy” afterwards. But Clare revealed the pup was back to her best on Monday morning.
Unemployed Clare had taken children, Kyle Byrnes, four, Leon Byrnes, three, and one-year-old Joshua Smalley, to see relatives when the dog became trapped.
Cassie had managed to get into the back of the washing machine and then tried to escape through a three-inch hole in the front.
She soon became trapped and a friend of Clare’s who was luckily on hand and in the house at the time dialled for the fire brigade for help.
They rushed to the house in Hartlepool’s Kendal Road at around 6.30pm on Sunday, arriving at around the same time as Clare got back home.
“It was absolutely horrible to see her trapped like that and crying so much, just horrible,” said Clare.
“The firemen made us leave the kitchen, it was so distressing for us and Cassie.
“At the time, seeing her like that, I didn’t see how she was going to get out alive.”
Despite concerned Clare fearing for the worst outside, the officers from Stranton Fire Station managed to pull the pooch to safety.
Clare only bought the pup three weeks ago as a surprise for her children and said she was pleased the youngsters were not at the house while the ordeal unfolded.
She added: “I walked back inside and Cassie was wrapped in a towel, but I knew then she was ok.
“I was so pleased and relieved.
“We have been lucky.
“I’m just so relieved the washing machine wasn’t on, because there is no way she would have survived that.
“She’s back to her best now, running around and excited.”
Clare said she plans to scrap the washing machine to avoid the ordeal happening again.