We had a responder meet with Officer Duke, an animal control officer (ACO) for Snohomish County. Our responder scouted the area and determined this would be a situation requiring technical rescue-trained members due to the steep conditions and heavy brush. We couldn’t see the dog from any angle or vantage point but could hear the occasional bark. The wind and the geography made it sound as if the barks were coming from different areas so we weren’t even sure of the most likely location of the dog.
We were low on technical responders on this one again so we requested help from Snohomish County’s Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue (SCVSAR) which included a request for assistance from Everett Mountain Rescue (EMR). While waiting for the teams to arrive, we’d asked the Mukilteo Fire Department if they’d like to bring out a drone, just in case it was helpful in locating the dog which would help determine a good spot to descend from. Unfortunately, the brush was too heavy to help with spotting the dog either visually or with thermal imaging.
The teams arrived and set up. The plan was to have one responder from WASART, descend in one area and another, from EMR, act as attendants and span either end where the dog was likely to be. The two would then see what they could from their individual fall lines and move toward each other, if that seemed like a safe option.
After set up and safety check, both attendants rappelled or were lowered down the cliff. By luck, the attendant from EMR reached nearly the end of the 200 ft rope about 10 feet from the dog. The WASART attendant climbed back up with the assistance of his prusiks to retrieve a harness from the crew on top. The team put the harness into a bag and attached a carabiner to the bag. The WASART attendant rappelled down toward the EMR attendant who was with the dog. Once close enough, he attached the bag with the harness to the rope via the carabiner and slid it down, zipline-style.
The attendant with the Leo harnessed him up. Once they were ready to go, the haul team at the top of the cliff raised the EMR individual and the subject, who had no immediately apparent injuries, departed immediately with his owner for a veterinary hospital for a check over.
A big thanks to SCVSAR, EMR, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, animal control, and the Snohomish County Fire Department. As always, a response of any sort is a team effort and we are grateful to continually find ourselves in the company of the best of teams.