We arrived on the scene of a dog over a cliff near the tip of Discovery Park in Seattle, King County, and walked up the very short trail where Nash, a one year old Lab-Mastiff cross was down a cliff of about 25 feet. He ran along a path at the bottom of the drop-off and barked occasionally so we can definitely say he was conscious and alert. He appeared unharmed, although unhappy about being separated from his people, who waited on the trail above.
Much of the technical team arrived before the equipment, so they sized up the situation. They had some equipment with them and they set up safety lines and attached them to harnesses so they could safely approach the edge and look over.
Once the equipment arrived on site, responders ferried up ropes, harnesses, pulleys, and all the other hardware we need to accomplish a rescue.
The team decided on a rappel. Since the distance was short, the litter, which we normally use to put a dog in to move them up a cliff face or down a trail, stayed in the equipment. Instead, we’d fit Nash with a lift harness or make one out of some webbing (kind of a flat rope) we had with us.
The way a rescue like this works is one or two people go over the edge on ropes.
The person retrieving the dog for this response was Dr. Dahl, a long-time member of the technical team.
Above, a team works to manage the ropes and the situation in general. For this we had five or six other people taking care of ropes and safety and yet more waiting to assist pulling Dr. Dahl up and Nash up.
Dr. Dahl rappelled safely to Nash, who wasn’t immediately sure about his new visitor. Dr. Dahl built a rapport with him pretty quickly and rigged an emergency lift harness out of the webbing he had with him. While that was going on, the team above was readying the rope setup from a lower system to a lift.
The team finished this about the time Dr. Dahl called that he was ready with Nash.
We are lucky to have had a generous number of haulers, including four members for whom this was their first response after completing training.
The lift went well and soon Dr. Dahl and Nash scrabbled over the crumbling edge of the drop-off just as it was getting dark. Nash, tired from his ordeal wanted to lay down immediately but saw his people on the trail and made his way over to them as soon as he was released from the harness and attached to a leash.