Cats, not canines, are reputed to possess those mythical "nine lives," but if dogs could talk, the lead character in a recent incident at Yosemite National Park might debate the point just a bit.
On the afternoon of Thursday, June 9, an eleven-year-old black Labrador named “Sweety” spotted a squirrel at the popular Tunnel View lookout in Yosemite National Park, and instinct quickly trumped restraint. The dog escaped its leash and gave chase over the stone wall at the edge of the overlook.
Once over the edge, the Lab fell down a steep embankment that a park report succinctly described as "an area of extreme exposure typical to Yosemite." That translates into a place where a fall can be a very long one indeed.
Park custodian Greg Warren was at Tunnel View at the time of the incident, radioed for help and then attempted unsuccessfully to find the dog. Responding rangers were also unable to locate Sweety and were left to assume the worst about the dog's fate. Given the terrain, that was a reasonable conclusion.
Sweety, however, proved to be tougher than her name might suggest.
On Saturday, June 11, resource manager Ryan Leahy was in a wooded area below the lookout and heard a dog whimpering from below the rim. Leahy and ranger Matt Stark rappelled approximately 100 feet down the slope and located the dog, which was uninjured, but trapped on a small exposed ledge.
Park custodian Greg Warren was once again on the scene to see a successful conclusion to the miscue. He, along with members of the park bear management team and several rangers, performed a quick rope raise to bring the dog and rescuers safely back to the rim.
Only time will tell if Sweety will be quite as eager to escape her leash in the future. She was unavailable for comment.