The Gig Harbor Fire Department used a thermal imaging camera and flashlights to locate and ultimately rescue a stranded dog late Monday night in Gig Harbor.
Upon arrival, the crew found that Mickey, a 16-year-old blind and deaf Jack Russell Terrier, had fallen over a cliff. The homeowner said that Mickey had been outside when she spotted him heading for the cliff on the south side of the property. She ran after him and managed to grab him before she slipped and they both fell over the edge of the cliff. The homeowner was able to catch herself on the blackberry bushes growing nearby and hold on until her husband was able to pull her to safety.
Unfortunately, Mickey had wiggled out of her grasp and was lost over the cliff among the blackberry bushes. The pair spent two hours cutting back the sticker bushes and going over the edge of the cliff trying to find Mickey in the thick brush. They went down to the beach and searched for Mickey and still were not able to find him.
When night fell they decided to call for assistance and dialed 911. When firefighters accessed the situation, they determined the only way they could reach Mickey was to set up a high angle rescue as the beach was inaccessible due to high tide. The cliff was more than 200 feet tall with extensive brush and cut back Maple trees.
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“We don’t ever want our citizens to end up stuck down embankments and put their own lives at risk in situations like these, so we’re glad they called us,” said Nanette Tatom, the department’s spokeswoman. “It was good training for us as well.”
Four Technical Rescue Team members and six additional firefighters supported the operation. Mickey was found about 150 feet down the cliff by Lt. Nick Langlow. He was safely retrieved and promptly taken by the homeowners to the vet.