Border Collie Survives 8 Story Fall

Dublin Catching a FrisbeeThe closest to serious injury my current herd of dogs have come was when Dublin and I were going for a walk at a park during a Frisbee competition and he bounded ahead through a tuft of high grass just off the paved trail. When he didn’t bound right back I called and he didn’t come.

As I approached the high grass I saw that only a few feet behind the wall of grass was a 5 foot drop to a small rock lined creek. Luckily Dublin was at the bottom looking up and quickly hopped off the rocks and pulled himself back up to the rim where I got his collar and yanked him all the way out. He escaped with only a scratch on his nose, but he could have easily broken his neck, spine, or a limb.

I was furious that some idiot park manager had allowed thick grass to grow to about 4 feet and hide what could be a lethal trap for pets, children, or people. The creek was so narrow that you literally had to be right on top of it to notice that the high grass on both sides had a gap in the center. From the path it looked like a simple hedge of grass that demarked an irregular grass field from one laid out for sports.

Just this week another young Border Collie bounded over what it saw as a harmless little wall and fell over 90 feet. And survived.

A team of Kuna firefighters on Friday rescued a border collie that jumped over a canyon rim wall at Dedication Point south of Kuna. The dog fell 90 feet but suffered only scrapes on her chin and a broken rear leg.

“We thought the dog’s back was broken. This dog is very lucky to escape with one broken bone,” said Dee Dee Bowring, kennel supervisor at the Idaho Humane Society. “It’s a happy ending, which is what we like.”

The 2-year-old dog has been treated with pain medications and is now resting at the Idaho Humane Society’s Veterinary Hospital. Dr. Jeff Rosenthal, the shelter’s executive director, will perform surgery on the dog’s broken leg early next week. He is doing the surgery free of charge.

Bowring and Animal Control Supervisor Morris McCall were called to the scene between noon and 1 p.m. Friday. A hiker had reported seeing a dog that had fallen over the cliff at Dedication Point, which is about 18 miles south of Kuna.

“I went just to see what I could do, if I was dealing with a live dog or a deceased dog,” McCall said.

McCall and Bowring decided to call Kuna Fire for help when he found out that the dog’s owner, Bill Rice, had hiked down the treacherously steep and rocky canyon wall to aid his dog. The dog landed on a ledge.

Rice told emergency personnel that he turned away from his dog, Shelby, to look at his grandkids and when he turned back, the dog was jumping over the 3-foot stone wall.

“I don’t know if it was trying to find out what was on the other side, or what,” McCall said. “It jumped over, and there was nothing but air.”

Rice took his grandkids home before he hiked down to try to rescue his dog.

Kuna Fire had responded to a similar accident four years ago. In fact, it was eerily similar.

“He went over at the exact same spot and landed in the same spot,” Kuna Fire Capt. Doug Newcomb said.

Miraculously, that first dog didn’t even break a bone, so Kuna firefighters were optimistic that this second canine victim might survive, Newcomb said.

Greg McPherson, a firefighter who had helped rescue the dog four years earlier, felt comfortable trying to help again.

It was a calculated risk, Newcomb said.

“If it’s going to put us in harm’s way, we’re not going to do it,” Newcomb said.

McPherson hiked down to where Rice and the dog were. He and Rice secured the dog on a backboard with duct tape, and then two men at the top of the canyon pulled the 42-pound dog up.

Witnesses said the dog was amazingly calm during the whole ordeal.

“She was licking the fireman’s face when they were down there (loading her on the backboard,” Bowring said. “She was in pain, but I think she knew they were there to help her.”

By Kate Moeller, Idaho Statesman
Photos courtesy of Dee Dee Bowring/Idaho Humane Society

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About Christopher

Christopher Landauer is a fifth generation Colorado native and second generation Border Collie enthusiast. Border Collies have been the Landauer family dogs since the 1960s and Christopher got his first one as a toddler. He began his own modest breeding program with the purchase of Dublin and Celeste in 2006 and currently shares his home with their children Mercury and Gemma as well. His interest in genetics began in AP Chemistry and AP Biology and was honed at Stanford University.