SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – The Summit County Rescue Group is already on track to break last year’s record for rescue calls for people. The group is growing concerned about dogs which they say are now also becoming a trend for rescues.
“In Summit County, we had two back-to-back calls, July 7 and 8, and the first call was for a Great Pyrenees who summited Quandary and then just collapsed in exhaustion with torn paw pads and just couldn’t go any further, and then the very next day we had a Weimaraner on Quandary (Peak). Same thing just couldn’t go any further and collapsed,” said Anna Debattiste, Public Information Officer for the Summit County Rescue Group.
While two may not sound like a lot, Debattiste says historically her team may respond to one dog rescue every three years. It’s a similar story for other rescue groups across the state this year.
“Routt County recently rescued an elderly dog who fell 200 feet into Fish Creek, and Chaffee County North rescued a dog off a 14er recently. I think it was (Mount) Harvard or (Mount) Yale,” she said. “We started collecting dog stories from other teams and every team has a dog rescue story somewhere in their history so that’s when we started noticing the trend.”
Should you bring your dog on a 14er is the question…
“Yes, absolutely,” Debattiste said without hesitation. “Some dogs can do it, but you just don’t want to assume they can do it. You should work your way up to it you know, take your dog on progressively longer hikes until you figure out what they’re capable of, and some dogs are never going to be capable of a 14er hike.”
The other point she makes is that in the midst of a drought year, you should never rely on a water source in the backcountry. Always bring water for your dog. Always bring food for your dog, and if you feel like going the extra mile, pack food, pad protection and even a rescue sling.
“Dogs don’t question our plan. They don’t look at a weather forecast. They don’t ask us about our calculations on distance and whether we’re carrying enough water for them. They just follow us loyally until maybe they collapse … it’s heartbreaking to see that.”