Rescuers pluck dog from side of steep bank

The dog, Morty, was not seriously injured after slipping down a steep slope in the North End.

Rescue crews helped return a dog that slipped and fell down a steep embankment in North Whidbey to its owners Sunday morning, North Whidbey Fire and Rescue Chief John Clark said.

The fire agency received the call at 8 a.m. and arrived to find a dog about 150 feet down a steep slope on Green Road, Clark said. The bluff was about 200 feet tall.

Morty, a 15-year-old rescued English setter, probably slipped during his morning walkabout, owner Mary Ferrulli Barker said.

He’s had some vision problems, she added.

“Now he’s a twice-rescued dog,” Barker said.

Barker and her partner, Robin Hodgson, went looking for Morty when he didn’t return to the house. She heard him yipping from where he was stuck in the brush.

Hodgson made his way over to Morty, who was uninjured, but could not bring him back up. Fire crews called the Navy ropes rescue team for help, but eventually were able to get the dog in a harness and return him home without a ropes rescue.

The rescue took about 15 minutes, according to the fire chief.

“It was wet, rainy and slick,” Clark said, adding that it had rained over the weekend.

He said that the fire agency rescues people on slopes or bluffs a couple times a year, and most occur in the Deception Pass area.

“Pets aren’t uncommon; they can fall just like anybody else,” Clark said.

Barker thanked the rescuers for responding quickly, and for treating her and Morty with compassion.