How far would you go to save your best furry friend?
It’s a question a Vancouver Island man had to face when he was out on a recent backcountry hike with his dog in Strathcona Park.
Jason Hobbs and his family dog Brody, a 12-year-old, 140 lbs, German Shepherd cross, were hiking into Bedwell Lake when Brody started limping and then dragging his hind legs. It was at this point that Hobbs knew Brody wasn’t going to be able to make it any further.
“He progressively just got worse and worse, to the point where I could only convince him to walk for 30 seconds at a time,” Hobbs told Global News.
Although Hobbs was able to eventually coax Brody back to their camp, the next morning things had gotten worse.
“When he woke up in the morning, he wasn’t eating, he wasn’t drinking and it was all I could do to get him up.”
Hobbs began trying to come up with solutions on how he could get his best canine friend out of the backcountry. Ideas like piecing together a makeshift stretcher came to mind but he knew it would be incredibly difficult to hike out with Brody.
But then came a sight he says he’ll never forget —; a helicopter.
“He came around and hovered around the site and I gave him the signal that I needed help.”
While Hobbs was trying to come up with ideas on how to help Brody, back home in Courtenay, his friends and family put a call out for help. And since Search and Rescue can only respond to human rescues, a private company E &B Helicopters, who had heard about Brody, stepped up to volunteer their services for free.
“We didn’t have any stretcher or backboard or anything like that,” says volunteer rescuer Jamie Turko. “So I made the decision to put him over my shoulders and pack him up to the helicopter.”
Although Brody was in pain, he appeared to be happy to be on his way home, which ended up being an eight minute flight versus a brutal five hour trek.
For Hobbs the volunteer rescuers are heroes and says, “words can’t express my gratitude for those people.”
But the gratitude for the volunteers and E&B crew wasn’t just from Hobbs and Brody, praise has come pouring in all kinds of ways.
Turko laughed saying they’ve had “kudos and congratulations and good for you, and even one marriage proposal.”
While Brody is on the mend, Hobbs said his days of backcountry hiking are done and now, he’s strictly a backyard pooch.
PHOTO GALLERY: Brody’s rescue
~ with files from Robin Stickley