On the evening of July 3, 2010, about 6 p.m., I started hiking with my friend Angel and dog Val at the Tangerine Falls trail in Santa Barbara. Val is a six-year-old, 80-pound female German shepherd mix. At the base of the falls, about an hour later, Val slipped and fell approximately 20 feet into the ravine below the falls, injuring her right hind leg, and could not walk.
We managed to scramble down into the ravine, support her leg with a homemade splint, and tow her back up the embankment to the trail. We knew, however, that we would not be able to carry her back to the trailhead without hurting her more or injuring ourselves in the process. Night was upon us, Val was quite a large dog and was struggling due to pain, and the trail itself had many steep rocky sections and exposed edges.
Fortunately, we both had our cells phone with us and by the grace of God we had cell reception at the back of the canyon. We called 911 and were routed quickly to Santa Barbara Search & Rescue. After giving our location to one of the members, we were told that a team was on its way. About a half an hour later we received a text that two teams were on the trail, along with an Animal Control Officer. At about 9:40 p.m., the teams reached us. We were amazed that they were able to get to us so fast in the dark, over very rough terrain, while carrying a lot of heavy equipment.
The team secured Val to the stretcher and used several belays to lower her down the rough sections. We were touched by the care and compassion they showed for Val while while efficiently and safely moving her down the trail. The team showed the highest degree of professionalism and teamwork throughout the night. We arrived back to the trailhead about 1:30 a.m.
We then took Val to an emergency pet hospital in Ventura where she was diagnosed with a dislocated hip. Although she will require surgery for a total hip replacement, which she is receiving at CARE in Santa Barbara, we are grateful she has received a second chance and did not suffer severe internal injuries.
We would like to give our heartfelt gratitude to the Santa Barbara Search & Rescue team members: Stephen Allcott, Jim Frank, Kevin Hess, Mike LoMonaco, Nelson Trichler, Juanita Smith, and Kerrie Valdiviezo, and also Animal Control Officer John Perry for an outstanding job. They rescued our beloved Val at a moment’s notice, with kindness and compassion. No words can sum up our appreciation for their dedication, heart, and professionalism.—Randy Tan, Angel Golis, and Val