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Opal injures right front leg during a 30-foot fall, in need of surgery for fractures

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: MOUNTAIN WAVE SEARCH AND RESCUE - Opal has volunteered with Mountain Wave Search and Rescue for four years, since she was a puppy.For more than 25 years, Mountain Wave Search and Rescue has assisted many visitors to Mount Hood in their time of need.

Now, after a recent accident, Mountain Wave volunteers are calling upon their communities to help out one of their own: Opal.

The beloved K9 volunteer fell on Feb. 20 while on a hike in Lincoln City with her owner, Barb Linder. In the 30-foot tumble, Opal sustained several fractures to her right front leg.

The cost of Opal's medical bills are estimated at about $15,000, a large expense for Linder, so Mountain Wave volunteers created a GoFundMe page for their injured comrade at www.gofundme.com/k9-opal-search-amp-rescue-dog.

In the past three days, the charitable online campaign has raised $15,875 of its $15,000 goal, but any additional donations to cover unforeseen costs would still be appreciated.

"It was the fact that the expenses were going to be so great," Mountain Wave President Russell Gubele said was the reason the group put forth the charitable effort. "We wanted to help her out. She's a valuable dog on our team."

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: MOUNTAIN WAVE SEARCH AND RESCUE - Opal has several fractures in her right front leg after a 30-foot fall in Lincoln City. Opal is one of 18 dogs on the Mountain Wave team, and she's worked alongside Linder to rescue wayward hikers and mountain climbers on Mount Hood for four years, ever since she was a puppy.

Opal is also one of five air-scent K9s, so her injury-caused hiatus from Mountain Wave narrows the group's available resources.

"Anytime we don't have a member or a K9, it does put a strain on the operation," Gubele said. "It is a little unclear of whether she will be able to do search and rescue again."

But Gubele is optimistic about the future of Opal's career and romps on the beach with family.

"It sounds like it will take Opal a year (to recover)," he said. "Opal's a young dog, so there's still several years of service available."

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