Rocks, dog a bad mix
A four-hour rescue effort brought a 130-pound bull mastiff named “Chief” to safety after a fall near the top of Horsetail Falls.
On Tuesday, owner Tyler Johnson of Sacramento and two friends were camping at the top the falls, located west of Strawberry off U.S. Highway 50. Chief fell several feet and injured a front leg and a hind leg. Animal Control Officer Doug Petri participated in the rescue and said the injuries suffered in the fall were not the main reason the dog could not walk.
“It had been running on granite so much that its paws were raw and bleeding” Petri said. “I’d say it was the paws more than anything.”
Petri and eight members of the U.S. Forest Service started up the trail from Highway 50 about 1:45 p.m. Wednesday. About 30 minutes into the two-hour hike, the Forest Service personnel were called to a fire and were unable to assist in the rescue.
“With the three campers, a good Samaritan named Sean and myself we were able to get the dog and the equipment down the hill safely,” Petri said. “(Sean) knew the mountain and he was a great deal of help. Without him we probably wouldn’t have got the dog off the mountain.”
The group used a soft stretcher to pack Chief out. Johnson took Chief back to Sacramento for veterinary treatment.
Petri said hikers and campers should think twice before letting dogs walk on granite.
“I would suggest not bringing a dog up into Desolation where there is a lot of granite because it wears the dog’s paws,” Petri said. “By the time we got to the bottom of the hill we were all really tired. (The campers) said they would never do that again.”
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Thunderstorms made their way through the Lake Tahoe basin this weekend and more rain and cooler temperatures are on tap this week.