Rescuers carry injured dog from Mt. Jefferson Wilderness

Not used to long hikes, paw pads peeled on trail

SISTERS, Ore. - Jefferson County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue undertook an unusual rescue Wednesday morning after a hiker in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness Area advised his dog, a 110-pound Rottweiler, had worn his paw pads off during a long hike and could no longer walk, officials said.

The hiker, identified as Mike D. Harding, 35, of Portland, was on the journey with a friend and his dog, Leon, and texted another friend Tuesday night about the injuries to his dog, Leon, said sheriff’s Deputy Dave Blann, SAR coordinator.

Due to the dog’s large size, the owners were unable to carry the dog back to the trailhead from their location, about two miles west of Square Lake, Blann said, adding that the dog hadn’t hiked before on an extended trip. 

The pair and dog had left Tuesday morning for a camping trip on the Old Summit Trail, Blann said. The dog’s paw pads had been peeling off due to very hot sand on the trail.

Nine members of the sheriff’s office’s Camp Sherman Hasty Team walked about two miles in from the Pacific Crest Trail and used a litter to bring Leon back to the trailhead.

Sheriff Jim Adkins said the hikers were fortunate the team was available to assist them. He noted that more than 130,000 visitors are expected to come to the county during next month’s solar eclipse.

“We ask people to be aware of the risks and to make good decisions when choosing where to recreate, as most public safety resources will be strained throughout Central Oregon during this time,” he said.

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