Naturally, many of us want to take our dogs with us wherever we go, and they’re usually pretty eager to tag along as well. Now, if only our dogs could tell us when they’re ready to call it quits. Frustratingly, they need their people to know the signs of exhaustion and look out for them.
After multiple incidents, a Colorado mountain rescue team asked dog parents to plan ahead when taking their dogs hiking. Even the most active dogs can struggle when ascending mountains and climbing over sharp rocks, especially in high temperatures.
Two Dog Rescues On Quandary
Summit County Rescue Group, an all-volunteer, non-profit mountain rescue team in Summit County, Colorado, does important work helping hikers at risk. The group is funded entirely by grants and donations. This month, they rescued two dogs from dangerous predicaments.
Following these rescues, Summit County Rescue Group issued an important statement on their page about hiking with our best furry friends.
“Our dogs will follow us anywhere, anytime, always. They don’t question our decisions, look at weather forecasts or plan how much water they need. They just continue to follow us loyally until perhaps their paws are bleeding or they collapse in exhaustion. We must be the guardians of their safety if we want to prevent their suffering.”
According to SCRG, both dogs were exhausted when apprehended and one had torn paw pads. Not trying to blame the owners, SCRG advised learning what your dog can handle in the backcountry before bringing them along. As the rescuers put it:
“Their owners were caring people who weren’t hurting them on purpose, but they just didn’t realize what was happening until it was too late.”
When Human Rescuers Help Dogs Too
Many commenters on social media thanked these volunteers for using their time and efforts to help four-legged friends in danger too.
“Ascending into altitude is just as strenuous on our pets if not more than it is for us. I wish people would educate themselves more but am grateful for teams like this who can rescue these sweet pups.” – Country Critters via Facebook
“This is why I love people asking questions about taking their dogs hiking. Most owners don’t understand the toll it can take on their furry family members until something like this happens.” – Bettie Pate via Facebook
In the past, SCRG has had a no-dog-rescue policy. However, they recognize that if they don’t go after dogs, they may end up needing to go for both the dog and the person hours later. The rescue only becomes more challenging at night and after more time.
“Our mission coordinators must always make decisions about how best to juggle resources, and they do that on a case-by-case basis. Sometimes it is just better to go after the dog in the first place to prevent a worse incident later.”
Personally, I’m grateful these kind heroes help furry friends too. Learn how to hike safely with your dog here.