PORT ORCHARD — What goes up, must come down.
Except when you’re a goofy 80-pound Rhodesian Ridgeback dog who’s stuck 25 feet up in a tree.
So, how does a big, lumbering canine get itself stuck in a tree? Apparently, where there’s a will, there’s a way, much to the chagrin of the dog’s owners.
After spotting a 75-foot-long tree that had fallen in South Kitsap Regional Park, the black dog’s curiosity got the best of her during a July 19 walk with her owners. The dog jumped onto the tree trunk at ground level, then walked up two-thirds of the way toward the top before concluding that she, well, had gone barking up the wrong tree.
As the dog presumably figured out, this was an airborne treasure hunt without an exit strategy.
That’s when the dog’s owners spotted their overgrown puppy helplessly perched skyward. Without obvious rescue options at hand, they called South Kitsap Fire and Rescue for help.
But unlike dramatic scenes depicted on television, firefighters — at least in South Kitsap — don’t make it a habit to rescue dogs, or cats, for that matter, stuck in trees.
“We don’t normally do that,” Assistant Chief Jeff Faucett said. “We don’t even go up and get cats out of trees. The problem with cats is that they keep going higher and higher when you try to reach for them.”
Nevertheless, Faucett said an SKFR engine company was sent to the park to see what predicament the dog had gotten herself into. After hiking a quarter-mile into the woods, crewmembers located the helpless pup perched high off the ground.
Luckily for the pooch, SKFR has an eight-person technical rescue team that knows how to pluck stranded people — and dogs — from perilous situations. Two of those technicians happened to be on duty that day, Faucett said, and were sent to the site.
“All of our firefighters are up to a certain level of rescue [training],” Faucett noted. “They can do certain things, but we have these eight people who are the higher-skilled technicians and experts.”
And in this instance, the dog-in-tree call was a perfect opportunity for a technical-rescue training exercise, he said.
“Animals tend to give us a little more practice on that. Bainbridge Island [firefighters] has been a leader in this in the county. They’ve had dogs that go off the cliff over there and will use that as a training opportunity.”
Two SKFR engine companies from the Fircrest and Tremont fire stations were sent to the park with technical rescue technicians on hand. Crew members used ropes and ladders to tie a harness around the stranded dog. Hugging the rescuing technician, the curious but calm canine was safely carried down to terra firma.