This past Tuesday evening after an eleven-hour search and rescue, Maggie, a chocolate lab was found dehydrated but unharmed in the steep brush-covered hillsides of Aliso and Wood Canyon Wilderness Park.
Maggie got loose while on a morning hike along Aswut Trail, a dog-friendly trail, with her owners, Hugh and Katie. She traveled well-off trail and was completely out of sight for hours. It is likely that Maggie got her collar entangled and could not go anywhere for some time.
In the afternoon, OC Parks staff was alerted and arrived on the scene. Kerry Lambert and Ian Kearney both entered the steep and thick terrain to find Maggie, while two Rangers stayed at the bottom of the hill supporting Ian and Kerry. Neighbors and friends had gathered along Mentally Sensitive trail with water, blankets, dog treats, and flashlights, ready to help however they could. Several mountain bikers joined the search.
As the sun began to set, Ian spotted Maggie, stressed, afraid and collarless. Ian used his bootlace as a collar and was able to get Maggie on his shoulders to carry her up to the trail. Ian, concerned neighbors, and the mountain bikers who had stopped to help, struggled up the steep slope to reunite Maggie with her owners.
Hugh and Katie had thought they lost Maggie forever. Instead, they were reunited among a community of supporters. With much gratitude, Hugh, Katie and Maggie were able to watch the setting sun as they made their way home together.
We, at Laguna Canyon Foundation, are so proud of our community who came together to help a family and their dog. Our thanks go to Pete, Dave, Victoria, Brian, Matt and all the others who were there but whose names we do not know.
We are especially grateful for the OC Parks staff, particularly Ian and Kerry whose knowledge of the wilderness park, skill and determination provided a much-needed, happy-ending story that we all need in these troubling times.