After being frightened on Christmas Day while hiking Oregon’s Columbia Gorge with her owner, Sandy, a yellow Labrador, snapped her leash and accidentally fell 150 feet down a cliff. Her owner, certain that the dog couldn’t have survived the fall, hiked down the cliff and found his dog on a ledge about 70 feet above him.
As reported by the Associated Press, David Schelske, who owns the Lab, said he figured she was a goner once she ran around the bend. After spotting her on the ledge, Schelske called the Oregon Humane Society and they sent out an eight-person team to help get Sandy off the ledge safely. Working in the dark, one of the Humane Society’s volunteers, John Thoeni, descended from the top of the cliff to the ledge on which Sandy was trapped.
Thoeni managed to get to the frightened dog and he got a rescue harness around her. They were both hoisted to safety and Sandy was examined. She had suffered a few minor injuries due to the fall, but the dog was able to walk out to the trailhead on her own.
This isn’t the first incident involving a dog falling off the cliffs at the Columbia River Gorge. The Inquisitr reported about a Labradoodle who had also fallen down an embankment at the gorge. The Labradoodle, Gracie, fell 200 feet and was rescued by a 10-person team from the Oregon Humane Society.
The OHS Technical Rescue Team is behind the two dramatic dog rescues and all of their efforts are supported by donations. To keep pets safe, they recommend that dogs are kept on leashes whenever they are in locations like the gorge. Sandy was leashed, but she managed to snap it when she got scared.
Along with keeping dogs leashed, the ASPCA also recommends that dogs have ID on their collar or harness, and are chipped so they can be returned to their owners if they do get away from them during a hike. They also suggest that owners should be assured their dog will return to them when called, not only for their own safety, but to be courteous to other hikers who may be wary of unleashed dogs.
As reported by Fox Carolina News reported, the OHS rescue team released video of the Christmas Day rescue. The video shows the team climbing down to the dog, then coming back up the cliff with Sandy in the rescue harness.
[Image by Oregon Humane Society]