Utah Sheriff’s Department Carries Dehydrated Labrador Down A Mountain In A 6-Hour Rescue Effort

by Stephanie Kaloi

The Sheriff’s Office in Salt Lake County recently undertook a heroic rescue effort for an unlikely victim: a 120-pound dehydrated Labrador named Leo.

Leo and his human parent were out on a hike on Mount Olympus when the dog suddenly decided enough was enough. The two were out in 100-degree temperatures, and Leo began showing signs of dehydration on their hike.

Leo’s human attempted to keep Leo cool and gave him water, but when his efforts didn’t work out the way he intended, he called for help.

The Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team wrote:

“SLCOSAR was called out for a dehydrated male hiker and his 120 lb. yellow lab. The two set out to hike Mount Olympus around 11:00 AM. The two got to the saddle just below the summit when Leo the dog showed signs of overheating and couldn’t go on. He laid down and would no longer move on his own. The hiker used all the water that he had left to try and hydrate and cool the dog off. When the dog’s condition was not improving he called for help.”

The team explained that the temperatures Leo and his owner faced were simply too much.

“Search and Rescue sent two teams up the mountain with large amounts of water and rescue equipment to carry the dog down the trail. With the afternoon temperatures nearing 100 degrees on the west-facing mountain, having little to no shade, and heavy packs it took the SAR members some extra time to get up to the saddle.”

Both of them seem to have been suffering. Luckily, a storm blew in and helped cool everyone down fairly quickly.

“Once to the patients, the team gave them water and tried to rehydrate them and cool Leo off with water and fanning. Leo was able to eventually drink 4-5 liters of water. Thankfully an afternoon thunderstorm blew in and cooled the temperature off a bit.”

“We tried to see if Leo could walk with some assistance, but he was [too] weak, so he was loaded into a litter and was taken down the mountain as quickly as possible. That process still took several hours. The team was off the mountain around 10:20 PM. Unified Police had made arrangements with a local vet to get Leo to them as soon as he was off the mountain.”

Luckily, someone was waiting with a car to drive Leo straight to the vet, and his human parent was fine.

“A Unified Police Officer used his patrol car as an emergency vehicle to rush Leo straight to the vet. All team members and the hiker got off the mountain in good condition. We don’t currently know the condition of Leo but he is in the team’s thoughts and prayers.”

The team also agrees that Leo seemed happy to receive care and to finally be off the mountain.

“Leo looked happy and relieved to be getting the help he needed to get hydrated and get off the mountain. We hope that he can get the medical help he needs tonight and pull through.”

They concluded their post with a gentle reminder that our pets don’t always respond to heat like we do.

“Remember your 4 legged friend doesn’t regulate heat as well as you do. If [you’re] going to hike with your doggy leave early, or wait a few more months until it cools off.”

The hiker who was with Leo definitely made the right call when choosing to seek extra support for the dog. Summer can be dangerous for people and for animals, especially when faced with scorching temperatures and inadequate water supplies.

While many people know that cars can quickly get too hot for humans and pets, we don’t always consider the impact that heat can have on our bodies when we’re outside.

Luckily, it sounds like Leo really will be OK following his ordeal. His rescuers added another update to his condition this week.

PUPdate on Leo the yellow lab from last night's rescue: It looks like Leo is overcoming his heat exhaustion and his...

Posted by Salt Lake County Sheriff's Search and Rescue on Tuesday, July 28, 2020

“PUPdate on Leo the yellow lab from last night’s rescue: It looks like Leo is overcoming his heat exhaustion and his kidney function is returning back to normal, so he should be ok. The vet is trying to get him to walk around some more so he can go home soon.”

The search and rescue team is definitely very active these days! The team is made up of 30 volunteers who respond to calls. They are on-call every day of this year, all hours of each day, and they perform nearly 100 rescues a year (totally free of charge). If you’d like to contribute to their ongoing efforts, you can donate to the team directly.