This past weekend, Mr. Puppy Pals (Ray) and I had planned to take our pups to the Canmore off-leash area on Sunday morning. We thought it would be a fun family outing, weather permitting, and the dogs could play in the water (our guys love water!). Well, Sunday morning came and went and by early afternoon we changed our plans and decided to go to the Cochrane Off-Leash area instead of Canmore.
Everything happens for a reason...
When we finally get to the off-leash area about 200 meters from the parking lot our boy Ryder is trying to climb down the very steep embankment to get to the water. We kept calling him back but he persisted and eventually went down the slope. A little panicked, we headed over to check if he was okay and we found, what we later learn to be, a golden lab named Abby.
Without hesitation, Ray headed down the embankment to go check on this pup who looked to be in pretty rough shape. He slowly and calmly approached her and she thankfully let him. She was shivering, chattering her teeth, and was unable to stand on her own. She had a collar on, but no tags or a license.
Keeping everyone safe...
Since she seemed to be responding well to Ray and Ryder's presence, Ray conducted a first aid assessment while I provided pet specific instructions from up above. (Ray hasn't had a chance to attend the Pet First Aid Course yet but is a certified Wilderness First Responder. He tells me the assessment process is very similar). The pup didn't seem to be in any pain, her breathing wasn't labored, and her pupils looked okay; however she was unable to stand on her own,
((At this point people started walking up to see what's going on including our two new friends Kim, a volunteer with AARCS, and Jen, a volunteer with Calgary Humane Society.))
After we determined it was safe to move the pup, Ray looped the handle of our leash over her mouth as a makeshift muzzle, and lifted her up out of the tree branches and muddy ground. (Super Important Note: when animals are injured or afraid, even the friendliest and most submissive dog can snap. It's very important to first keep yourself safe, as it's very hard to administer pet first aid when you have no fingers).
When Ray and Abby reached the top of the embankment, we checked again for ID and then Kim called the AARCS emergency line for some direction. We decided to take the pup to a vet clinic to check and see if she was microchipped (so we could find her family) and injured. Still unable to stand on her own, Ray and another gentleman carried her the 200 meters back to Kim's truck. Here we wrapped her in a blanket and tried to warm her up a bit.
At this point one person in our group notices a woman pacing on a nearby bridge. He calls over and asks if she was looking for a lost dog - turns out she is helping a boy named Michael look for their missing 14 year old family farm dog named Abby. A quick phone call and a relieved Michael was soon at Abby's side.
A happy ending.
In talking with Abby's family, we learned Abby has some issues with her hind legs and hips. Even though she didn't appear to be in shock, she did seem exhausted so we strongly suggested the family take her to a vet to get checked. (I will follow up with the family in a few days and see how she is doing)
I am so incredibly proud of both Ray and Ryder.
Ryder had a "Timmy's fallen down the well" Lassie moment and Ray without hesitation bolted down the embankment to help a distressed Abby.
I'm also incredibly thankful to have Pet First Aid training. I know I say this often, but confidently knowing what to check for, how to keep yourself safe, how to keep Abby and the other dogs in the off-leash area safe to me was and is priceless.
Until next time, see you at the dog park!