A dog was returned to its North Vancouver owner safe and sound Monday after being plucked from a raging Capilano River by helicopter.
Rex the Rottweiler-cross was out for a walk on the west bank of the watercourse just below the suspension bridge at about 2 p.m. when the pooch apparently lost its footing and got washed downstream, according to rescuers.
Rex's owner raced after the struggling canine, managing to keep pace until it scrambled out of the water some distance down the canyon.
The dog had emerged on the east bank, however, and was now trapped between a steep cliff face and the river, which was swollen by snowmelt.
Unable to reach the distressed animal, the owner, a City of North Vancouver firefighter, contacted a friend at North Shore Rescue.
The team called in a Talon helicopter, and within an hour an aircrew touched down on a nearby rocky outcrop. The volunteers loaded Rex into the aircraft and flew it to a rescue station, where it was reunited with its owner.
The man will be picking up the entire tab for the operation, said North Shore Rescue's Tim Jones. Costs will likely run to about $1,000, he guessed.
"For pet owners, a dog is like a family member," said Jones.
The incident came just hours after a similar effort ended sadly on neighbouring Lynn Creek.
On Saturday afternoon, a golden retriever called Nelson was swept over a high waterfall at 90-Foot Pool, touching off a frantic search by the owner and other volunteers coordinated through Twitter.
The online campaign drew extensive media attention, and prompted dozens of people to descend on the park to help with the effort.
The operation was called off Sunday afternoon when the dog's body was found near Twin Falls Bridge.
North Shore Rescue retrieved it from the water Monday morning.
The incidents prompted the organization to issue a warning to owners to keep dogs on leash near creeks during the spring melt.
"They get off leash; they follow a bird or a squirrel down into the canyon; and this is what's going to happen," said Jones.
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