When the Camp Sherman Hasty Team assembled early Wednesday, July 19, their rescue mission was a little out of the ordinary. The team was needed to rescue a 110-pound dog that had accompanied two people into the Mount Jefferson Wilderness, but was unable to hike back out.
Undersheriff Marc Heckathorn, of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, explained that the sheriff's office learned about the injured dog when a man texted a message to a friend indicating that he needed help. "He reported he and a friend were on a hike and they brought with them a dog who hadn't hiked before on an extended trip," said Heckathorn. "As a result of the long hike, the dog's pads had worn off and the dog was no longer able to walk."
Heckathorn contacted deputy Dave Blann around 6:40 p.m., Tuesday, July 18, and Blann was able to contact the dog's owner, Mike D. Harding, 35, of Portland, at 9:33 p.m. that same evening.
"Harding was prepared to spend the night at Square Lake, so I told him I would gather a team and head in around 8 (a.m.)," Blann reported, noting that he anticipated that it would take the Camp Sherman Hasty Team up to an hour to reach Harding and his dog, "Leon," who had camped about two miles west of the lake.
"Due to the large size of the dog (110 pounds), the owners were unable to transport the dog back to the trail head themselves and needed help," said Heckathorn. Eight members of the JCSO Camp Sherman Hasty Team Search and Rescue team assembled, with four carrying a litter from the Pacific Crest Trail Head, and the other group hiking in from the Round Lake Trail Head.
Both teams arrived just after 8:30 a.m., loaded Leon onto the litter, and left around 8:55 a.m., carrying him out. The group reached the trail head, where Harding had parked, at about 10:14 a.m.
"Harding loaded Leon into his rental car and left for Portland and his veterinarian," said Blann.
"Luckily for this group, our team was available to assist them," said Heckathorn, who has concerns about the thousands of visitors who will be visiting in August, for the total solar eclipse.
"During the eclipse in August, Jefferson County is estimated to have over 130,000 visitors coming to the county and many will be recreating throughout Central Oregon prior to the eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21," he said. "We ask people to be aware of the risks and to make good decisions when choosing where to recreate, as most public safety resources will be strained throughout Central Oregon during this time."