In the popular imagination, rescuing a trapped animal is as a simple as a firefighter climbing a ladder to take a cat out of a tree, but the reality is often much more complicated.
Washington State Animal Response Team (WASART) recently documented the sometimes complex and dangerous process on Facebook, sharing photos of the daring rescue of a dog who had been stuck for days between a raging river and a steep, rocky incline.
For the team of almost 20 volunteers from WASART and Summit to Sound Search & Rescue (STS), just getting to the dog - trapped on the far side of the Nooksack River between two sets of rapids - posed a challenge.
To safely reach the dog, the rescuers had to first send over a lone swimmer with a guideline while other team members either acted as lookouts or traveled farther downstream to offer help in case something went wrong.
A second rescuer then waded across the river with the equipment that would hopefully carry the dog back to the other side.
Possibly the greatest challenge, however, was coaxing the frightened dog back down to the river. After several failed attempts, a rescuer named Marcia managed to grab the pup.
Next, the rescuers secured an emergency muzzle around the dog's snout and set about ferrying him across the river.
Unfortunately, not everything went according to plan.
"Marcia and the dog ended up on the water as the responder side team hauled on the ropes as fast as they could to get the pair over," wrote WASART on Facebook. "Marcia held on to the raft with one hand and kept the dog's head above the water with the other."
Soon, however, the dog was back on dry land, shaking himself off on the river's shore.
Safely on the other side, the dog was then taken to a vet for an emergency checkup.
After all that work, all that was left for the rescuers to do was to pack up and enjoy the fruits of their labor.
"We hear he's doing well," wrote WASART on Facebook. "He's a bit underweight, but has had some food and is settling in at Whatcom Humane Society."
To help support rescue operations like this one, click here to donate to WASART or click here to give money to STS.