{Ya, I know. "All in a days work", but still a great job!}

Dog survives plunge over 25-metre falls near Campbell River

Lulu might want to change her name to Lucky

By Denise Sharkey, Courier-Islander July 6, 2010

Campbell River, B.C. - Owners of a dog named Lulu might want to change her name to Lucky after she was swept over Elk Falls near Campbell River and survived after a daring rescue.

“Everyone was super happy that this had a good ending,” said Campbell River Search and Rescue manager Grant Cromer.

Search and Rescue was contacted Friday afternoon by fire department dispatchers who had just heard from a frantic caller whose dog had been washed over the 25-metre waterfall on the Campbell River.

The family, visiting from Alberta, was camping in the area when Lulu, a three-year-old golden retriever, went to get a drink above the falls, slipped into the water and was swept away.

Witnesses said the dog initially popped up underneath the falls and managed to climb onto a rock, but fell back in and was washed downstream, Cromer said. Although no one could see the animal, it could be heard barking downstream faintly.

Campbell River Search and Rescue volunteers decided to attempt a rescue, first contacting B.C. Hydro to lock out the spill gates at Moose Falls as a safety precaution. Rope rescue team members then set up a system at the Elk Falls viewing platform and three swiftwater rescue technicians rappelled down into the pool below the falls. Cromer, who was one of the swiftwater crew, said they swam about 100 meters to where Lulu was perched on a tiny ledge on a sheer rock face.

“We sat with her for a bit until she calmed down and then put a little leash on her and swam downstream.”

He said Lulu was tired and cold, so they had to help her along. They eventually met up with a ground team of SAR volunteers who had bushwhacked their way down a steep hill to get to the water to meet them. Lulu and the volunteers then hiked 45 minutes to the Snowden Camp Road, where she was reunited with her family.

Cromer said Campbell River Search and Rescue had to check with their regional manager to make sure they were allowed to take on the rescue, which took about four hours and involved a dozen people.

He said all the volunteers wanted to save the dog. “None of us would be able to sleep at night knowing she was still there on that ledge, so we went for it.”

Search and Rescue members have been called to several human fatalities in the same spot in the past, so they knew the dangers of the water well. Cromer said he’s still amazed Lulu survived.

“This is by far the luckiest dog we have ever met.”

© Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist

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PHOTOCREDIT:

Lulu the lucky golden retriever with rescuers (from left) Tim Strange, Richard Finch and Grant Cromer.Photograph by: Photo courtesy Campbell River Search and Rescue, timescolonist.com
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