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North Van crews rescue terrified terrier from cliff ledge

This is the second North Shore pooch pulled from a river's edge this month
Capilano dog rescue web
North Vancouver Fire and Rescue crews fetch a terrified terrier from a cliff in Capilano River Regional Park, April 29, 2020.

Proving yet again that no job is too big and no pup is too small, District of North Vancouver firefighters have rescued another dog from a river’s edge.

Around 11:30 a.m. Thursday, District of North Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services received multiple 911 calls from folks on a trail just south of the Pipeline Bridge in Capilano River Regional Park, after their Wheaten terrier Omie slipped down a small embankment.

“In the dog’s panic, it had actually fallen farther down another cliff closer to the water's edge,” said assistant fire chief David Dales. “There's different sections of rapids and standing pools. It's kind of a complicated area there, but it is quite steep a sheer drop.”

Dales dispatched two crews to the scene. Omie was on a precarious ledge about three metres above the water. Recent rains had the river rushing, so Dales decided it would be safer to rope up one member and send him down the cliff with a makeshift dog harness.

“[Omie] was a very upset, kind of scared dog but he knew we were there to help and he was an active participant as opposed to fighting us,” Dales said.

They quickly got Omie back up to the trail and crews gave him a medical exam but just to be sure, his owners took him to see a vet right away.

“They were very grateful,” Dales said.

North Van firefighters are called out routinely for trail and river rescues. About 12 times a year, those involve dogs, Dales said. The last one, on April 2, involved pulling a pooch from the rocks on the Seymour River.

Dales recommended people keep their dogs under control while on local trails, but he added, whenever you’re trouble, just yelp for help.

“If an accident happens, don't hesitate a minute. Call us right away because we’re usually able to get the dog out in under half an hour,” he said. “It's what we do. It's what we're trained to do. It's what we have the equipment for. And we do it in real time. If it's a human or a dog, we do the same rescue.”