Gretchen Bailey knows she have to keep her 14-year-old Golden Retriever Cowboy close by. His eyesight is failing, and his hearing isn’t the greatest.
When Cowboy fell down a 30-foot cliff on San Juan Island, Bailey thought he might be done for.
Thanks to the rope skills of the San Juan Island Fire Rescue, Cowboy is getting a second chance.
As the San Juan Islander reports, firefighter Craig McConnell and Lt. Michael Henderson rappelled down the cliffside, while fellow firefighter Nick Wainwright caught their maneuvers on video.
Cowboy nearly fell into the ocean when he toppled, and was holding fast to a patch of land as the tide began to rise.
“When we approached Cowboy, we were in six inches of water, and by the time we were secured and ready to go up, we were in three and a half feet of water,” McConnell said.
Cowboy was weak and frightened when the firefighters reached him, but their intricate rope system made hoisting the dog up all the more easier.
“Although it seems like we perform more technical rope rescues involving dogs than humans, it’s basically the same method and the more we train, the more proficient we will become under the most challenging of scenarios,” Assistant Chief Noel Monin told the San Juan Islander.
Cowboy was taken to a veterinarian, who wasn’t sure if he would make a full recovery. It’s clear to Bailey, as she now sees him walking and climbing stairs on his own, that her old dog still has some fight left in him.
“The dedication and professionalism of the men and women who serve our community as firefighters or support members is evident in Monday night’s rescue. Being a part of our dynamic team is a great way to help those in need; be they two- or four-legged,” Fire Chief Norvin Collins said.
Watch the thrilling rescue in the video below!
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.
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