A pair of puppies are now safe and sound, thanks to Mission Search and Rescue.
The two dogs were rescued on Sunday (Oct. 28) from a cliff in the Hatzic Bluff area not too far from Stave Lake Road.
The ordeal began a few days before that after residents reported hearing the sound of dogs howling and whining.
The steep terrain was not easy to navigate so it was unknown how many dogs, or what kind, were trapped.
The situation was reported on Facebook as concerned residents began to plan a rescue attempt.
That’s when Mission Search and Rescue stepped in.
Dean Osen, Mission Search and Rescue manager, said he was on the phone for hours on Saturday night, organizing a team to go out and search for the dogs.
Finding lost animals isn’t a regular part of Search and Rescue’s duties.
“We are normally sanctioned to rescue people so, as everything evolves, we are given a task number to go out and search for animals, but we do not get any funding for that when we do go out,” Osen said.
That means any damaged equipment, materials or other expenses used in the rescue come out of the volunteer search and rescuers’ pockets.
“We looked at the pros and cons for this one and didn’t want anyone else to put their life at risk and, with the training we do, we’re able to mitigate a lot of the hazards,” Osen said.
A group of volunteers, including two members from Surrey Search and Rescue and two from Central Fraser Valley Search and Rescue, agreed to come out on Sunday.
“We had 18 members out. There were two rope teams working from the top and one climbing team working from the bottom.”
The dogs were located in the Hatzic Bluffs area, which Osen called very rough terrain.
In the end, it was the climbing team that located the dogs first, accessed them and brought them to safety.
The dogs were happy to go with their rescuers.
A veterinarian, Dr. Adrian Walton of Dewdney Animal Hospital, also volunteered his time.
“He came out, he inspected the dogs, he took them and will do a full checkup on them,” Osen said.
The initial on-scene checkup showed that the two dogs, who are St. Bernards and estimated to be 16 weeks old, are in good health. They were a little emaciated from not eating for the past few days, but are otherwise healthy.
The owners had yet to be located as of press time.