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Dog survives 150-foot fall during Christmas Day hike

Just a reminder of what can happen when we’re out on the trails with our dogs.

A 3-year-old dog named Sandy survived a 150-foot fall down a cliff in the Columbia Gorge on Christmas, according to KTVZ News of central Oregon.

She had been hiking with her owner David Schelske, according to KTVZ. A rescue team from the Oregon Humane Society was sent out to rescue the dog.

From KTVZ:

Volunteer John Thoeni rappelled 150 feet down a sheer cliff to locate the dog, who miraculously had suffered only minor injuries. The dog was trapped on a tiny, inaccessible ledge about 70 feet above the creek.

The ledge was too small for Thoeni to climb onto, so he fitted a rescue harness on the frightened dog and the two were hoisted to safety by the other members of the rescue team.

Sandy was reunited with her owner and the OHS team hiked back down the trail with the pair, arriving at the trailhead at about 11:30 pm. Sandy was able to walk down the trail on her own power.

Sandy with her owner

I’m so glad Sandy ended up OK. She is pictured above with her owner, and there’s a video below. Full story here.

I know many of you will be out hiking with your dogs this week (I will be too). This story was just a case of bad (and good!) luck, but it still serves as a reminder to keep safety in mind. Before a hike, always put ID tags on your dog, carry a phone and tell someone where you’re going.

Have any of you had any close calls while hiking with your dogs?

I hope you haven’t, but maybe we can all learn something from your story.

Photo and video from Oregon Humane Society.


Friday 2nd of January 2015

This is a great reminder when you're hiking somewhere new. A few years ago I was hiking with Haley in a new area and the trail went from a wooded area to an open grassy field. There was a huge cliff drop-off close by which was hidden from Haley's view by the tall grass. She went bounding towards the edge and luckily I was able to call her back before she got too close to the edge, but it was a good lesson for me to keep her on a leash anytime we're exploring a new trail for the first time. I was happy to read that Sandy survived her fall, whew!

Jana Rade

Tuesday 30th of December 2014

So glad the dog is ok! I actually always avoided hiking places such as that, just because of the potential risk. That's me, being paranoid. Even when picking a property to buy we considered this and picked one that is flat.

Our risk area here are the frozen deep swamps early in the winter and late in the spring.

Lindsay Stordahl

Tuesday 30th of December 2014

Oh yes, those swamps would be scary!


Monday 29th of December 2014

Oh my gosh! I would have been beside myself. Poor dog and owner. I had a close call with Hiccup the first time he saw a rabbit in the wild. We were at the park that was on a big plateau taking pictures, so I stupidly wasn't holding the leash to better get shots. Suddenly Hiccup just bolts towards the cliff at the edge of the park after a rabbit! He came so close to falling right off, but luckily he didn't.

Lindsay Stordahl

Tuesday 30th of December 2014

That would be so scary. I'm so glad Hiccup didn't get hurt or lost.

Julia at Home on 129 Acres

Monday 29th of December 2014

A good reminder, Lindsay. We've had some good hikes with our group over the holidays. One tip from a member of our group is to put your cell phone number on your dog's tags along with or instead of your home number (assuming you have both). If you and your dog get separated while you're out hiking, he might be found quickly and you want his rescuers to be able to call you wherever you are.

Lindsay Stordahl

Tuesday 30th of December 2014

Yes, great idea! I like to keep two numbers on my pets' collars. My cell and my husband's cell. I used to have tags with my mom's cell number too.

dennis kowaleuski

Monday 29th of December 2014

That dog was very brave and seemed so calm about it. I wish I could meet the dog and the owner. that's a scary story but a good one thanks for sharing with a video.