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Dogs Rescued From Ledges By Helicopter-Borne Rescuers

February 11, 1988

MOAB, Utah (AP) _ Two emaciated dogs were back home with their master today after rescuers plucked them from sandstone ledges packed with snow and ice.

″They both are sound asleep right now in front of the fire,″ owner Sandy Washburn said Wednesday night. ″I was petting Pepper and saying, ‘You’re not going to leave again are you, dear thing?’ ″

Pepper and Sam wandered away from home about three weeks ago, and were spotted by hikers on a 500-foot high sandstone dome five miles southeast of town.

The dogs were thin and dehydrated but otherwise in good health when they were rescued Wednesday, said Katherine Brant of the Humane Society of Utah. She said the dogs would recover with proper care and food.

Climbers Kirk DeFond and G. Bego Gerhart and Charles Taylor, a relative of Mrs. Washburn and her husband, Chuck, were flown to the top of the dome by a helicopter.

The sight of strangers and sound of the helicopter agitated the dogs, so meatballs containing tranquilizers were given to them, Brant said.

Pepper, a 2-year-old blue heeler-black labrador mix, was on top of the rock and probably could have left but apparently was unwilling to abandon Sam, Mrs. Washburn said.

Pepper would not approach rescuers until Taylor called her. When she finally came to him, she ravenously took a drugged meatball, even eating the foil wrapping.

Gerhart rappelled over the side of the dome to retrieve Sam, a year-old blue heeler stranded on a ledge 70 feet below Pepper. After the dog ate the meat, it calmed down was hauled up with a harness.

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