On Sunday, a chocolate Labrador survived a fall into an earth crack in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park.
The 4 year-old chocolate Labrador ran off on Saturday evening while on an off-leash walk with his owner and another dog near the Volcano golf course and the park boundary.
The dog’s owner spent the night searching for the Labrador but she could not find him. When she returned to the area in the morning, she heard a faint whining coming from deep within an earth crack and called for help.
Park rangers responded to the call. Using a high-angle technical rope-rescue technique, Ranger Arnold Nakata was lowered 20 feet into the narrow crack where he found the Lab. Although trapped, the dog was otherwise in good condition. Nakata rigged Romeo with a harness and the topside rescue team slowly pulled them out of the ground.
The grateful Labrador thanked his rescuers with lots of slobbery dog kisses.
The national park does not usually use technical rescue for animals. Pets are not allowed in many areas of the park for various reasons – including safety and the protection of threatened and endangered species. Authorized service animals are permitted, but may be prohibited from certain areas if their presence is detrimental to park management programs.
All pets and service dogs are required to be leashed in the park at all times. There are hikers who been bitten by off-leash dogs on park trails, and other pets have fallen into earth cracks and steam vents and have not survived.
“We are glad that this rescue had a happy ending, because our pets are like family. The best way to protect them is to not expose them unnecessarily to potentially hazardous areas that are prevalent in a national park,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando.