Dog Who Fell Off A Cliff Reunites With Her Tearful Owner
Sheila, a black Lab, was out on a hike with her owner in the rocky wilderness of Tacoma, Washington, on Saturday, when the dog slipped and fell - 150 feet off a cliff.
Her owner called the Washington State Animal Response Team (WASART) for help, but darkness was falling, and any attempt to recover Sheila would have to happen in the pitch black.
Rescuers arrived as darkness fell over the woods.
At first they weren't sure what to do - wait until the first light of the morning or immediately go after the stranded dog, who could be injured. There was a chance Sheila had fallen all the way to the strip of beach below, too, and the rescue team was worried about the rising tide.
"At the beginning, we'd very occasionally heard barks we felt were probably Sheila's," the group wrote on Facebook. This heartened rescuers as they decided to rig ropes to scale down the drop, despite the darkness.
But as the rescue team and Sheila's owner kept calling, the barks stopped.
Rescuers hurried. They outfitted themselves in harnesses to scale down the rocks, and turned on flashlights attached to their helmets.
"We'd see the glints of the beer cans and occasionally something else," the group recounted.
One rescuer, as he neared the bottom, only saw the glinting light from broken glass bottles. But then he felt certain he saw eyes, the group wrote.
The man searched through the pitch darkness and finally found Sheila on a little outcropping just big enough for her to sit on. "[H]er legs [were] braced in front of her," WASART described. "She had likely had been in that position since around 6 p.m. when she'd fallen and it was now about 2 a.m."
Sheila was embraced by rescuers who scrambled back up a rocky path, holding her tight. A veterinarian was there to examine Sheila for injuries.
Rescuers did not get home until around 4 a.m. that night.
"Sheila was dehydrated and exhausted but otherwise OK," WASART wrote. "We were happy to escort Sheila to her owner. Both seemed very happy to see the other."
The Washington State Animal Response team comes to the rescue of animals in need for free. Click here to learn how you can help them.