SHE was a canine hero of the Cumbrian fells for more than a decade.

But in a moving online message, members of Penrith Mountain Rescue Team have issued an emotional farewell to their faithful friend, Dottie the rescue dog.

The Facebook post published by the team says: "It is with a heavy heart that we pass on the sad news that retired search dog Dottie has passed away today at the age of 15.

2Dottie graduated after just 14 months of training at two years old and had an amazing ten and a half years of service to Penrith Mountain Rescue Team and Lake District Mountain Rescue Searchdogs, completing nearly 250 callouts and finding 8 casualties."

Even after her retirement, Dottie loved the fells, said the statement.

The statement added: "Dottie would happily take to the fells with Handler Karen Field. Dottie had such a wonderful character and was a best friend to us all.

Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with Kaz and Andrew at this sad time."

In her own poignant message, Karen responded to the online tributes for Dottie.

She wrote: "Thanks for your kind messages.

"Before she left us we took her to the fell one more time.

"She died peacefully at home at 3:30 with Andrew and I beside her and a tennis ball to calm her.

"Run free my beautiful girl. My heart is broken."

Among the many tributes was this one from Helen Warrington.

She wrote: "I remember meeting you many years ago and a kinder sweeter dog I couldn’t imagine.. rest easy sweetheart and happy fell hunting over the bridge xxx."

Mike Hill said: "Such sad news.

"Dottie was born the same year I started with Penrith Mountain Rescue Team and was part of my 14 year journey with the team.

"A great search dog who helped so many people over her long spell in the team."

To read more tributes search for Penrith Mountain Rescue Team on Facebook.