Thor was an Akbash, a breed of dog from Turkey known for their roles as livestock guardians or shepherds. - Courtesy of Tanya Lynch

B.C. dog rescued after being attacked by bear and getting stuck in ravine

‘Thor’ badly injured when SAR crews arrived

A Vancouver Island family is expressing its gratitude to search and rescue personnel after a daring late-night rescue of the family’s dog, Thor, who had been badly injured by a bear and was stuck at the bottom of a 200-foot ravine.

The Lynch family, who lives in the Qualicum Bay/Dashwood area, called Arrowsmith SAR after finding their 125-pound dog at the bottom of a ravine on their property several weeks ago.

When Thor didn’t show up for dinner, they knew something was wrong. Tanya Lynch followed her intuition down into the ravine where they found the dog badly injured from a bear attack. Both Tanya and her husband tried to bring Thor back home themselves, but they had to stop when Thor ended up biting her husband out of fear.

Lynch was at a loss for what to do when she thought to call Arrowsmith SAR. It was sometime between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. when she made the call.

READ MORE: Arrowsmith SAR members honoured for rescue

The team arrived within 15 minutes. They assessed the area and determined that they would need to call in the rope rescue team from Comox Search and Rescue. In the middle of the night, the team showed up within half an hour of the call, according to Lynch.

She struggled to put into words how it felt to have such a prompt reply to her call for help.

“They were so dedicated, and so respectful… I can’t say enough good things,” said Lynch.

According to Nick Rivers, president and search manager for Arrowsmith SAR, it was about 4 a.m. by the time the teams finally got Thor up and back together with his owners.

Once the crews made it down to the bottom, they stabilized Thor and brought down a stretcher. The rope team then set up, went down the embankment, and brought Thor out to the top.

“It was pretty complex because we had very challenging anchors where we anchor the rope system to at the top of the hill… so it took a little while to get everything going,” said Rivers.

Rivers says that Search and Rescue groups can respond to animal calls, but they won’t be reimbursed for any fuel, food or damaged gear the way they do when rescuing humans, although they are still covered by WorkSafe BC.

“Animal rescue is a Good Samaritan act,” said Rivers.

Rivers estimates that all members involved in the rescue were home by approximately 5:30 a.m. He noted that most of the members had to get up for work shortly afterwards.

The Arrowsmith squad, like most SAR teams, is entirely made up of volunteers.

Lynch says she believes that SAR teams need more recognition for the work they do.

“We really think that they need to be acknowledged. Because they’re just like everyday people – they’re like us – they’re on call, and they come and save people’s lives – they’re everyday heroes,” said Lynch.

Rivers says that what SAR teams consider normal can be quite overwhelming and impressive for viewers.

“What we do in SAR is a little bit out of the normal for most people. For us, it can feel very normal to hook up to a bunch of ropes and rappel down a 200-foot embankment,” said Rivers.

“I think it’s very shocking and impressive to people when they see the operation really come together, and how much goes into it. And how much SAR members really care. They bring all their passion and enthusiasm with them. And everyone really stepped up to the plate that night to do everything they could to help Thor. It was a really great experience.”

Unfortunately, due to the shoulder injury Thor sustained from the bear attack, he had to be put down the next day.

“He ended up crushing his shoulder. He would have had to have an amputation. Because he was such an active, running, working dog, we didn’t think that at 11 he would be able to deal with the amputation,” said Lynch.

Thor was an Akbash, a type of dog often used as a livestock guardian or shepherd dog. He was one of several guard dogs on the Lynch’s acreage.

Lynch says she is so grateful to the Arrowsmith SAR for ensuring Thor didn’t die stranded in the ravine.

“It’s bittersweet. The thing is, he didn’t die a horrible death in the ravine. Because of them, he was returned up. We have two children, they got to sit with him in the morning. It was a sweet goodbye, but it could have been really horrible if they hadn’t have showed up and saved him.”

emily.vance@pqbnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

Just Posted

CSRD, Sicamous under pressure to find location for downtown recycling depot

Public poll shows preference for one-stop drop-off at Finlayson street bottle depot

Larch Hills lighting project wins $25,000 runner-up prize in Kraft Heinz Project Play

Organizers grateful for community effort throughout voting period

Tories take North Okanagan-Shuswap riding with decisive win

Incumbent Conservative MP Mel Arnold returns to Ottawa, Liberal Cindy Derkaz a distant second

Trudeau has won the most seats — but not a majority. What happens next?

Trudeau will have to deal with some of the implications of Monday’s result

LIVE MAP: Results in Canada’s 2019 federal election

Polls are now closed across the country

In the news: Liberals eke out a win, but will need NDP, Green support to pass bills

Conservatives say they are ready if Trudeau should falter

Penticton man accused of beach assault back in custody

Thomas Kruger-Allen, 22, is facing new charges following an incident on Oct. 19

‘Wexit’ talk percolates day after Liberals returned to power with minority

An online petition is calling for a western alliance and Alberta to separate

Writer-in-residence inspires next generation

Yvonne Blomer has been selected as the Kalamalka Press Writer-in-Residence at Caetani Cultural Centre

Column: NDP taxing small business, British Columbians into oblivion

Notes from the Legislature by Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo

Federal election saw 66% of registered voters hit the polls across Canada

Roughly 18 million people cast their ballots, voting in a Liberal minority government

Alleged RCMP secret leaker must stay with B.C. parents while on bail

Cameron Ortis, 47, is charged with violating the Security of Information Act

‘Inconsistent’ message on climate change hurt Liberals at the polls: SFU prof

Trudeau government will have to make concessions to hold onto power

Opposition to Trans Mountain won’t change, B.C. minister says

Pipeline projects proceed under minority Trudeau government

Most Read