BELLINGHAM - A dog fell 150 feet while hiking in the Chuckanut Mountains and survived the night on the side of a cliff before a rescue team saved her Tuesday afternoon, Jan. 21.
Charlotte, a 1-year-old Belgian Malinois and pitbull mix, slipped off the side of a trail- it's not clear why - after getting let off her leash around 5:30 p.m. Monday near Lost Lake, a 15-minute hike from the nearest trailhead, said Lauri McBeath, a local member of the Washington State Animal Response Team.
The dog's owner could hear her barking. But Charlotte was too far away and it was getting too dark for the owner or an animal control officer to help her. She could be seen, but not reached, from the Lost Lake Trail that runs parallel below.
By the next afternoon, more than a dozen people responded to the cliff to help save her. Charlotte stopped barking about a half-hour before the team with Bellingham Mountain Rescue lowered down an EMT to the dog, McBeath said.
Charlotte, who weighs about 45 pounds, was loaded into an oversized duffel bag and pulled to safety a little after 2 p.m., said Meganne Johnson, an animal control officer with the Whatcom Humane Society.
The dog seemed to have trouble breathing. She hurt her chest and back as she tumbled down the cliff face, and she wasn't moving her hind legs. Veterinarians were checking for spinal injuries.
The team loaded Charlotte onto a specialized stretcher and carried her to the trailhead, then rushed her to a Bellingham animal hospital. She was being treated for injuries Tuesday afternoon.
To watch a video of rescuers with the Whatcom County Search & Rescue Council bringing Charlotte safely to the trailhead, go to facebook.com/WhatcomCountySearchRescue.