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Shaggy Dog is OK After 75-foot Plunge into Gorge

April 22, 1987

CASTILE, N.Y. (AP) _ A shaggy dog that fell into a gorge in a park had to spend the night on a ledge because park policy prohibited rescue of a pet, but officials finally bent the rules and hoisted the animal to safety.

The dog, Oreo, was playing with 11-year-old Jason Rambler on a family outing Monday when the German shepherd-English sheepdog mix fell 75 feet into the gorge, which reaches 400 feet in some places, and landed unhurt.

″We thought she would be killed,″ Jason’s mother, Margaret, said Wednesday. ″We told the park people about it, and they said that they do not attempt to rescue pets that fall into the gorge.″

″When I saw the look on Jason’s face, I was ready to go down the gorge myself,″ Mrs. Rambler said.

But by Tuesday morning, park officials relented.

″We generally don’t try to rescue animals,″ said Ronald F. Foley, manager of the Genesee Park Commission, which oversees Letchworth.

″But because the family was close by and because we could use it as a training exercise, we did it.″

Jason was playing with his 1-year-old, 55-pound dog Monday when Oreo broke away and jumped over a stone fence at the rim of the gorge.

″Oreo went sailing through the air and into the gorge,″ said Mrs. Rambler, whose family was having a picnic breakfast at the park about 45 miles east of Buffalo.

The dog had to stay there overnight before park workers Judy Draper and Jon Kelly lowered themselves into the gorge by rope Tuesday morning.

Draper said she took along water and hot dogs down and found Oreo unhurt.

″(Oreo) came over to me when I held out a hot dog and drank all the water I carried,″ she said.

The dog was attached to a harness and hoisted out of the gorge. The rescue took nearly four hours.

Mrs. Rambler said Oreo was lucky. The dog was wearing a leash and choker that could have gotten caught on something and broken her neck or choked her.

But the leash and choker chain disappeared. ″We don’t know what happened, Mrs. Rambler said. We wish Oreo could talk so she could tell us what happened.″

Mrs. Rambler said a vet told them Oreo was ″healthy as can be.″

″She’s a little sore. She’s taking her time going up and down steps, but there’s not a bruise or a scratch on her.″

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