We got a call for a dog over a cliff on Saturday, July 7, in Skagit County. We put a call out for available members and sent them to the site in Darrington, WA. A 60 lb. border collie mix, Chloe, had fallen about 250 ft. and needed help back to her owners.
The site was a little hard to find, so many of the arriving members were guided in by emergent volunteers on ATVs. The first of the members arriving set out to assess the situation while waiting for the equipment and other responders to arrive with the van not far behind.
Once everything was set up and rest of the WASART volunteers were on site, the team sent down responder Michael C. with the litter (yellow jacket, orange equipment in the photos) to retrieve Chloe.
The team ran a lower system with a belay, allowing Michael to make his way safely down the slope.
Michael arrived at the dog’s location, a spot that required him to work closely with Chloe. Chloe sustained injuries during the fall but was alert and bright-eyed. We’d been alerted about injuries by a bystander who had gone down to her through an indirect route and come back up.
Michael assessed Chloe and felt she was stable but that it was in her best interests to get back to her family who had already called an emergency vet to advise they’d be on their way was soon as they could. The main injury of note he could see that would affect the rescue was at least one injured leg that he knew he’d have to be careful with when putting the harness on her. While she wouldn’t be suspended from the harness, having one on her would assist in securing her to the litter for the ascent. Michael muzzled her for safety and fitted her with the harness, tying her in to the litter to keep her safe for the ride up.
Meanwhile, the team members on top were switching the rope systems to one that would lift the rescuer and his patient back to the top rather than lower.
When Michael called to say he was ready, the rest of the team was ready to go, too. The lift up went quickly and smoothly. At the top, the team unclipped and carried Chloe to her family’s car for the next stage of her journey: to the vet. Chloe, who had already been well-behaved and compliant started to wag her tail when she saw her people.