Alberta Fire Crews Just Scaled A Cliff To Rescue A Puppy Who Had Been Lost For A Week
The puppy's family had presumed he was dead!
A confused and lost dog named Toby had a pretty lucky escape on Wednesday when a chanced sighting by a member of the Grande Prairie Regional Fire Service ended up in a full-scale rescue operation to save the puppy’s life. According to an official news release, crews were responding to a completely different call when an officer noticed Toby and realized the dog was stuck and stranded on the ledge of an 80-foot cliff.
Fortunately for Toby, the fire crews recognized he was in danger and began to formulate a plan to facilitate his rescue. The Regional Fire Service dispatched their ‘high angle rescue team’ to assist, and requested help from the Grovedale Fire and Wembley Fire services, who were able to provide a watercraft on the gushing river below.
It was not an easy rescue, according to the fire services, as little Toby was trapped between the cliff’s rocks, unable to get himself back up to level ground or down to the river. In fact, two crew members were forced to hike for more than 90 minutes to get to a spot where they could reach the terrified puppy.
In a video posted by the County of Grand Prairie, one of Toby’s rescuers explained, “I was … lowered about 60 feet down a ravine and over the ledge of the cliff, lowered down to the puppy."
When crew member Travis Skrepnek reached the exhausted pup, Toby was more than grateful to see him. "The puppy was pretty tired,” he said. Adding, “Thankfully he was very co-operative. You could tell he wanted help."
After realizing that a traditional harness was ineffective, fire crews worked together to create a makeshift version that would also fit Toby inside. When it was complete, both Toby and a member of the fire crew were attached to the rope and then lowered to a waiting boat in the river, from a height of about 80 feet!
With Toby back on land and finally safe after his ordeal, the only thing left to do was find his family! Recognizing that Toby was clearly a family pet, the fire services searched social media in an attempt to locate his owners.
Incredibly, they were successful! As it turned out, Toby had a family who was missing him terribly, including two young children.
In a news release, Grande Prairie Regional Fire Chief Dan Verdun spoke of the joy the department had with reconnecting the family with their furry friend. “The County of Grande Prairie is thrilled that such a happy reunion could take place with the return of Toby to his family,” he said.
Prior to his rescue, Toby had not been since August 7. He was found more than 100 kilometers away from where he was last seen by his family, with firefighters suspecting he was able to survive by drinking water from a small puddle on the ledge.
Speaking in the video posted to YouTube, Toby’s owner took a moment to thank those involved in Toby’s rescue. "I want to say thank you to everybody that participated in this. You went way out and above beyond what anybody would do. It is seriously amazing,” he said.