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Rope and rescue team saves stranded dog off cliffside in Ecola State Park

Dog spends 24 hours on cliff
By Brenna Visser

The Daily Astorian

Published on December 26, 2017 10:34AM

Last changed on December 26, 2017 1:29PM

A search led to the rescue of Felix, a border collie who went missing on Christmas Day.

Courtesy Sarah Stremming

A search led to the rescue of Felix, a border collie who went missing on Christmas Day.


In a dramatic rescue, a dog which was stranded on a cliff north of Indian Beach for almost 24 hours was brought to safety Tuesday morning.

The 2-year-old border collie was rescued off a sharp cliff face 60 feet from the crest of the Clatsop Loop trail by member of the Seaside rope and rescue team unharmed. The dog, whose name is Felix, went missing around 3 p.m. Monday during a Christmas day hike, said Sarah Stremming, the dog’s owner.

“He doesn’t just leave, it’s not like how he is,” Stremming said. “He does like water, so I figured he went over the cliff. He would have come back to me when I called if he hadn’t.”

For the rest of the evening, Seattle resident Stremming and a group of friends searched the cliffside to no avail.

“We thought we knew where he was, we just couldn’t see him and he couldn’t hear us due to the tides,” Stremming said.

Last night, Stremming posted a call to action on her Facebook page in an effort to reach out to what she called “an extensive network of dog lovers.” This morning, Cannon Beach Fire Chief Matt Benedict had a flood of Facebook messages on the Cannon Beach Fire and Rescue page from Stremming’s concerned friends.

Shortly after 8 a.m., Hamlet Fire Chief Matt Verley used his private drone to locate the dog, after which it was determined the only way to reach him was by belaying down the cliffside.

Search and rescue missions aren’t uncommon in and around Ecola State Park. On average, the area rescues about six to 12 hikers each year, Benedict said. But most happen in the summer, and this was the first high-angle rescue this year, Benedict said – a type of rescue that is steeper and requires more climbing than usual.

For Seaside Fire Lieutenant Genesee Dennis, the man who scaled the rock face to retrieve the dog, this was his first rescue since being certified a year ago.

“The most difficult part about this rescue was the fact it was a dog,” Dennis said. “You can’t reason with a dog, and they can’t really help. At one point he slipped out of his harness, and I was basically bear hugging him, with no available hand holds.”

About three hours later, Felix was greeted by a warm blanket, a visibly emotional owner and group of friends anxiously awaiting his arrival.

“He’s everything,” Stremming said, clutching Felix in her arms.



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