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Dog rescued from dangerous Canadian mountaintop

Monday December 10th, 2012

By DogTime Staff

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The Bernese Mountain Dog, Ohly, after he was rescued from Mt. Seymour after 12 days.

Canada’s Mt. Seymour, located just north of Vancouver, can sometimes prove perilous for even the most seasoned skiers and mountaineers.

But when Bernese Mountain Dog Ohly ran away from his family and ended up on that perilous mountain two weeks ago, owner Steve Goad knew he would do anything he could to bring Ohly back home.

On November 25, while on a walk with family friends in the parking lot of a Mt. Seymour ski resort, Ohly managed to break free from his leash. The Bernese bolted down the road, seemingly in the direction of the Goad’s home, but when concerned passersby tried to catch him, Ohly dashed into the woods. The Goad family was devastated, but continued to search for Ohly as the days went by.

Goad hung flyers, contacted news outlets, and launched a massive social media campaign that made headlines and brought a community together. Goad could only hope that dog lovers across British Columbia would keep their eyes out for Ohly and spread the word to their families, friends, and neighbors.

Last Wednesday, Ohly was spotted near the mountain but evaded his would-be rescuers. News of Ohly’s whereabouts spread on the “Find Ohly” Facebook page, and dog lovers, including people who had never met the Goad family, took to the trails in search of the elusive Bernese.

“If we were to lose our dog, it’s like losing a child to us,” volunteer Harookz Noguchi told CBC News. Noguchi ventured to the base of the mountain with a portable barbecue, grilling bacon and enticing meats in an attempt to lure Ohly from his hiding place. Though he is a stranger to the Goads, Noguchi is no stranger to what it is like to love a dog and what it would feel like to lose a dog. “I understand how hard it must be for [owner Steve Goad] and his family,” Noguchi said.

Search and rescue professionals were called to the scene after members of Ohly’s family and a band of loyal volunteers made plans to ascend the mountains themselves in search of the missing pooch.

“Because of the social media and based on our knowledge of dog rescues, our concern was for public safety, that well-intentioned ill-prepared people would go down and try to rescue the dog,” said North Shore Search and Rescue representative Tim Jones.

As Steve Goad and his family watched, and search and rescue teams made their way up the hazardous terrain, Ohly was spotted on the most treacherous area of Mt. Seymour: Suicide Gully.

“As soon as Suicide Gully got involved, I knew we couldn’t go down there,” Goad told The Vancouver Sun.

Knowing now that time was running out, the rescue personnel decided to take a helicopter up into the mountain’s deadly peaks in an attempt to lead teams on foot to Ohly’s location. The $7,000 needed to charter that chopper was raised entirely through public donations.

Their efforts paid off — Ohly was found and brought off of Mt. Seymour Saturday after surviving almost two weeks.

“My wife was crying. My daughters had been out there all day and freezing cold,” Goad told The Provinceof the happy reunion. “It will make Christmas pretty special.”

Pictures of Ohly reuniting with the Goad family were posted on the “Find Ohly” Facebook page Saturday.

The Goads rushed Ohly to his veterinarian, who determined that, though he’d lost nearly 20 pounds and was a bit dehydrated, Ohly was going to be okay. The vet also administered some IV fluids and prescribed antibiotics to treat a small fever. Today Ohly is back at home with his grateful family.

Despite all of the challenges, Goad told Metro News that he had faith Ohly would be rescued, and never gave up on his family’ best friend. “I’d always believed we’d get him back,” he said. “I was out there looking for him everyday.”

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