Firefighter Billy Piepenbrink kneels with his new furry friend Wednesday after rescuing the dog that fell about 20 feet down the bluff at Deer Lagoon. Photo provided

Firefighter Billy Piepenbrink kneels with his new furry friend Wednesday after rescuing the dog that fell about 20 feet down the bluff at Deer Lagoon. Photo provided

Central Whidbey Fire takes part in canine rescue effort

Firefighters from South Whidbey Fire/EMS and Central Whidbey Island Fire and Rescue conducted a rescue of the four-legged variety Wednesday afternoon.

At about 3:30 p.m., personnel arrived at the bluff over Deer Lagoon in response to a dog that had fallen over the edge.

Sam, an older pitbull mix, had wandered off the cliff, which was covered in blackberry bushes, and landed on a small ledge, according to South Whidbey Fire/EMS Deputy Chief Wendy Moffatt.

Luckily, the slope wasn’t especially steep, said Central Whidbey Fire Chief Ed Hartin said, but Sam the dog had gotten stuck in the blackberry bushes.

The dog was stuck for about an hour before firefighters arrived, and it took another hour to perform the rescue, Moffatt said.

“We had to utilize some rope rescue techniques to lower a firefighter over the edge to save the dog,” she said. The techniques require specialized training and only a few members of South Whidbey’s team have had it, Moffatt said. It’s something the fire district only does “a handful of times a year,” she said.

The crew connected Firefighter Billy Piepen-brink to two ropes on a pulley system with a friction device to lower him in a controlled manner, Hartin said.

Piepenbrink was lowered down about 20 feet to where the 80-pound canine was waiting. Central Whidbey provided the rope equipment and additional “man power” to complete the operation, Moffatt said.

Piepenbrink found the dog uninjured, and the fire district reported on its Facebook page that Sam was “very happy to be back home.”

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Photo by The Everett Herald / 2016
                                Todd Morrow
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