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North Shore Rescue recovers dog in distress

An 80-pound boxer was hiked out from Lynn Headwaters Trail, partway by backpack and then by ATV

After a long hike on a hot day, he was dog-tired. Luckily, the pooch was picked up by the folks at North Shore Rescue, who transported the exhausted animal to safety.

At around 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, NSR received a call from a group of three hikers with a dog in distress on the Lynn Headwaters Trail.

A father and his two kids were on a hike when their canine companion, an 80-pound boxer, became exhausted and was unable to continue. The dad wore himself out too trying to carry his dog, said Dave Barnett, search manager with NSR.

Both were in need of assistance, and were without any lights. The man had also sent the children back to the parking lot, where they were waiting when the rescue volunteers arrived.

“I think that was the right call, because where this individual was, even though we had his phone number, we couldn’t make contact with him because the cell service is really spotty in that area,” Barnett said, adding that some other hikers had also encountered the man and called in his location.

Mounting e-bikes and a six-wheel ATV, NSR members reached the man and his pooped pooch, around five kilometres up the trail. There, the rescue team first put the dog in a large backpack for the first leg of the exit, Barnett said, before reaching the ATV, where the dog was placed on a spine board to drive the rest of the way to the parking lot. A Metro Vancouver parks caretaker also assisted in the effort.

While overexerted, the dog’s owner was able to make the hike out on foot, walking back to the parking lot to meet his kids, who were joined by the man’s wife. Everyone was off the trail by midnight, Barnett said.

This is far from the first time that NSR crews have had to rescue a dog in distress.

Barnett encourages hikers to avoid taking their canines on long, challenging hikes, especially in warm weather.

“Even better, just keep your dogs on smoother trails that are approved [for dogs], because even if the dogs don’t get heat exhaustion, some of them have had beat up pads and feet and aren't able to walk for that reason as well,” he said.

While dogs with flat faces are less effective panters, making them more susceptible to overheating, Barnett said NSR has had to rescue all kinds of pups.

The rescue manager also reminds people to have lights handy on hikes. A list of hiking essentials can be found on NSR’s website.

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