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#254518 - 12/11/12 12:43 AM To Rescue a Dog
Teslinhiker Offline

Registered: 12/14/09
Posts: 1389
A now completed local SAR operation that took place here over the weekend has an interesting twist to it and has elicited some varied responses on whether this SAR OP was the right thing to do. I have a lot of respect for the North Shore SAR. This fine group of women and men are some of the best of the best in the civilian SAR world...anywhere and I think was the right thing to do and back them 100 percent.

The gist of the story is that a dog belonging to some locals got loose a couple of weeks ago and took off in the back country which is well renown around here for it's rugged and dangerous terrain, especially this time of year when winter conditions make the area that much more treacherous. The dog owners and friends wanted to go in attempt to find/rescue the dog and this soon leaked out on the usual social media sites and many people (not me or anyone I know) volunteered to undertake this search. The local SAR team was concerned that given the winter weather conditions, the terrain involved and probable volunteer inexperience that this volunteer search would end in a human tragedy.

Tim Jones, of North Shore Search and Rescue said volunteers, most of them strangers to Ohly’s human family, were determined to rescue the dog themselves. “This was a serious public safety concern,” said Jones. “If we hadn’t gone looking for that dog we would have had a rescue or a body recovery.”

In order to preempt a possible human rescue or recovery, the SAR team went in and eventually got the dog on the weekend.

A few links on the story:




Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.

John Lubbock

#254519 - 12/11/12 12:49 AM Re: To Rescue a Dog [Re: Teslinhiker]
jzmtl Offline

Registered: 03/18/10
Posts: 530
Loc: Montreal Canada
Hmm, pet owners are going to hate me for this but I really don't think this is a good reason to use resources of SAR and putting many people at risk. Nor does it set a good precedence since now anybody who can't find their dog will just have to put themselves in danger's way to get SAR to bail them out.

#254522 - 12/11/12 01:40 AM Re: To Rescue a Dog [Re: jzmtl]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6854
Loc: southern Cal
My group rescued dogs and other animals upon request. The results were good for the dog, good for the group, and good for the public. One operation, which happened when I was out of town, involved extricating the pooch from a mine shaft. Mine shaft operations are inherently risky, but it was good training and good experience. I wasn't present at this operation, so I can't say just how nasty this particular shaft might have been, but the best of them are bad.

For many years, the largest voluntary contribution made to our group was from the owner of a dog we rescued.

SAR resources are not like a stash of candy, to be husbanded and doled out only on suitable occasions. Just like athletes, rescue groups need regular exercise and workouts. There is a "sweet spot" - too much work can be just as bad as too little work, but regular activity is critical.

I am sure the group in the story was aware of the demands put on them and was able to allocate their resources properly.

Our philosophy was to perform the rescue first and then debate later. Would you rescue those undoubtedly engaged in criminal activity? I have, and I would do it again, although one of those occasions involved one of those pesky mine shafts, one of the rare genuinely hazardous operations in which I have been involved.
Geezer in Chief

#254523 - 12/11/12 01:42 AM Re: To Rescue a Dog [Re: Teslinhiker]
GarlyDog Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 04/05/07
Posts: 776
Loc: The People's Republic of IL
Seems like a well considered decision by the SAR group's leader. He/she should be commended for taking action to prevent tragedy.

On another note, this sort of thing could be spun into a real positive for fund raising efforts for the organization. I hope they take advantage of it.


#254524 - 12/11/12 01:52 AM Re: To Rescue a Dog [Re: GarlyDog]
Teslinhiker Offline

Registered: 12/14/09
Posts: 1389
Originally Posted By: GarlyDog
Seems like a well considered decision by the SAR group's leader. He/she should be commended for taking action to prevent tragedy.

On another note, this sort of thing could be spun into a real positive for fund raising efforts for the organization. I hope they take advantage of it.

On their Facebook page, it is mentioned that they have already have enough donations that the helicopter fees have been paid off. This SAR team and others in the area are very well respected, supported and appreciated by the local population. We live in a very unique environment where in less then 30 minutes you can be in ravines and gullies that have never had any human presence until you ventured into. And if I were ever to be lost or hurt up there, I would only hope that these SAR members are the ones to come my rescue...
Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.

John Lubbock

#254534 - 12/11/12 05:24 AM Re: To Rescue a Dog [Re: Teslinhiker]
Lono Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/19/06
Posts: 1013
Loc: Pacific NW, USA
In at least one instance local SAR has deferred to a mountain animal rescue group, and it has worked out for all involved. I had no idea that animal SAR existed, either in fact or in imagination of those involved, but it apparently does. How lucky that local SAR has an animal SAR to defer to in at least a few instances.

#254541 - 12/11/12 02:17 PM Re: To Rescue a Dog [Re: Teslinhiker]
paramedicpete Offline

Registered: 04/09/02
Posts: 1920
Loc: Frederick, Maryland
Absolutely, the SAR team made the right decision. Our team always responds to animal rescues for several reasons. First, as noted in the article, it prevents untrained individuals who attempt to rescue the animal from becoming victims themselves. Second, we view the animal rescue as a training opportunity and while we make every reasonable attempt to perform the rescue in a timely manner, we definitely take our time and mitigate as much of the risk as possible. Third, tremendous public goodwill, donations will often follow the rescue, even when we have been unsuccessful.

A winter ago, we rescued a dog that had fallen down a rock crevice at Catoctin National Park in Thurmont, MD. The owners had taken the dog off leash when it saw some Turkey Vultures up on the trail. It took off running after the birds and fell into a crevice, about 30 feet down. We lowered a member who had to fend off a rather irate raccoon to access the dog. The dog was surprisingly unhurt by the fall, so using a dog harness from one of our team members who is also on the dog search team, raised the dog out of the crevice. The owners were fined for allowing their dog off leash. The Park Service split the fine with our team and purchased us 2 lifting harnesses and a snatch pole for future dog rescues.


#254544 - 12/11/12 04:47 PM Re: To Rescue a Dog [Re: Teslinhiker]

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 1841
i have told this story before,but here it is again.
about 10 years ago we were at a free run dog park in Minneapolis.
early winter and about 10-15 below.the river had a ice sheet along the shore that was about 15 feet out into the river with the rest of the Mississippi open and running fairly fast.
our dog who was new from a dog rescue society had won my Wife's heart went out onto the ice when we were enjoying the view in another direction.it went thru the thin ice on the edge and when we turned around it was struggling to get out of the water and back on the ice.
i knew the water was not really deep there from seeing it in the summer,the ice was over the shallow part,not more than waist deep.
i knew my wife would be heart broken if we lost the dog so i bellied out on the ice after the dog,i could not grab anything to pull it out so i busted the ice with my fist..this all took seconds.
the dog now could push thru the broken ice which now broke under me..i stood up in hip deep water and pulled our dog in the rest of the way.the other dog walkers were now gathering around and offered to call 911..
i knew we could walk back to the car and be home in 20 minutes so i just waved them off and started back.i had on flannel lined jeans,boots and a shirt-wool sweater-windbreaker shell.
by the time we got to the car all that was frozen on me.i had to get my wife's mitts on because mine were wet of course.my heart was pounding like i never felt it before but i felt ok and just kept walking fast.
home the dog and i went into a hot shower,i got out of the frozen clothes with the water running on me and the dog sat in the tub with me also thawing out.
we both slept for the rest of the afternoon.
the dog was smart and never went near ice again and we kept a eye on it all the time.
i walked because standing around waiting for 911 while soaking wet,chest to feet,would have froze me right up.
after it was all over i could see why some people make "bad" choices,you feel you need to do something and just do it------


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