Saint Roch, the Patron Saint of Dogs, must have been watching over a 3-year-old yellow Lab named Sandy on Christmas Day.
The dog miraculously survived a 150-foot fall into an Oregon gorge and was brought to safety by a technical rescue team.
The pooch plunged down the cliff during a Christmas Day hike with her owner, David Schelske. Sandy was spooked by something, took off and broke her leash, according to Schelske. He made his way down the Columbia Gorge and spotted her perched on a ledge about 70 feet from the valley floor.
“It never occurred to me that I would see her alive again,” Schelske said in a statement.
That’s when the Oregon Humane Society stepped in. Its technical animal rescue team once again called to action along the “treacherous Eagle Creek trail.” Twice this year the team helped in two similar dog rescues.
Eight people worked in the dark. Volunteer John Thoeni rappelled 150 feet down a sheer cliff to locate the frightened dog trapped on a tiny spot of rock. A rescue harness as strapped to the pooch and was hoisted to safety.
Sandy suffered only minor injuries and walked to the late-night reunion with her owner.
“What happened was incredibly bad luck, but then we had incredibly good luck when she was saved,” Schelske added.