The myth that dogs can’t climb trees has been debunked by a California pooch.
Guinness, an 8-year-old Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, was chasing a raccoon when it bolted up the trunk of a large oak tree. Not content with ending the pursuit, Guinness shimmied himself up into the tree as well.
Though he’d gotten himself up into the oak, Guinness panicked when trying to get himself down.
Menlo Park emergency services got a call around 9 p.m. from a resident who claimed their dog got caught in a tree.
“The dispatchers thought, ‘Whoever it is must be wrong,” says Menlo Park Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman, because everyone knows that dogs can’t climb trees. “We thought it was a cat or a raccoon or a possum. That’s typically what it is,” he adds.
But when Schapelhouman and the other first responders arrived at the scene, lo and behold, there was 40-pound Guinness, shaking like a leaf on an oak tree branch 30 feet high.
“The irony of having a dog up there — it was unusual, to say the least,” Schapelhouman says.
Concerned for her dog’s safety, Guinness’s owner had also climbed nearly that high into the oak in an attempt to rescue her marooned Wheaten Terrier.
Using a 36-foot rescue ladder and a harness and pulley system made from one of the dog’s travel harnesses, firefighter Tony Eggimann was able to secure Guinness, using a dog treat to coax the terrified pooch close enough to bring him down from the lofty perch.
Guinness, grateful to have his four feet planted safely on solid ground again, was then reunited with his very relieved family.
Schapelhouman explains that Guinness’s predicament was a first for the experienced firefighters. “In my 32 years in the Fire Service we have been asked to rescue many cats in trees,” says Schapelhouman, “and while we have rescued dogs from pipes, culverts, under homes, and many other locations closer to the ground, I have never seen or heard of a dog that could climb a tree.”
A video of the thrilling rescue has been posted on the fire department website.
Following the incident, Guinness’s family has since erected a fence around the oak tree.