Once their rescue missions are over, the volunteers at Chilliwack Search and Rescue don’t usually hear back from the people they’ve saved.
It’s even more rare to get follow ups about the animals they’ve rescued along the way.
So when the Chilliwack SAR team had heard that two young girls wanted to thank them for saving their grandparents’ dog, they were pleasantly surprised. The girls, named Abby and Anna, were bringing along a sizable cash donation, too.
“I could be wrong but I think this is the first time in the 18 years I’ve been on the team to have young people donating to us,” said Doug Fraser, SAR’s search manager. When the girls visited the SAR headquarters with their mom, they were treated to a tour of the facilities, and Fraser was told the story of how a dog they rescued came to be lost.
Their story goes back to the late spring, when the two girls were helping to dog sit for their grandparents up at Cultus Lake. At some point, the dog “caught a scent of something and off it went,” Fraser said. Hours passed as the girls and their mom searched frantically. Finally, they received a tip that the dog had been seen around Sweltzer Creek, and off they went to find him there.
“This was in May,” Fraser said, “and the water was running fairly high in the creek. This dog had gone in a place in the creek where the banks were too steep for it to get itself out. It was exhausted when the girls’ mom found it.”
So, as any animal lover would probably do, the mom went down into the creek to help the stranded canine.
“She climbed down into the creek to look after the dog,” Fraser said. “The dog was so tired it was leaning on her the whole time.”
But the woman herself was standing in cold spring waters up to her chest, too. Knowing she was in a predicament, she moved to a different spot in the creek and waited for help to arrive.
“We came out and we had nine or 10 people on that call,” Fraser said. “We rigged a little harness for the dog and brought the dog out and then helped the girls’ mom out, and everybody was safe and sound.”
Little did the rescuers know that the young girls were avid fundraisers for animal welfare, collecting bottles and cans as a way to be able to donate to the OWL society in the past. Because of the way the Chilliwack SAR team rescued their mom, and the dog, the girls decided to donate $200 to the local organization.
“It sure was a nice gesture on their part,” Fraser said.
While rescuing animals is not the primary function of Chilliwack Search and Rescue, they mobilize quickly to help people in danger.
“If we know that leaving the animal where it is is going to cause a person to put their life at risk, we’ll go to prevent a possible situation or injury to a person,” Fraser explained.
The meeting with the family, so many months later, was well received at SAR headquarters.
“It’s always nice to get some follow up, and it doesn’t happen terribly often,” Fraser said.
They even tweeted out a message to the girls, along with a photo from their tour of the SAR headquarters.
“Thank you Abby and Anna for your donation to Chilliwack Search and Rescue!” they wrote. “These generous and community-minded young ladies collect pop cans and normally donate the funds raised to help animals in need. This year, in recognition of a recent task where we assisted their aunt’s dog, the ladies opted to donate $200 of their hard earned funds to our team. We are so grateful for their generosity!”