Police in Helicopter Rescue Dog Stranded on Cliff

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The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office dispatched a helicopter on Saturday afternoon to rescue a Labrador Retriever that was stranded on a cliff overlooking Portuguese Beach in Northern California, according to the (Santa Rosa) Press Democrat.

The dog, named Oreo, wandered about 40 feet down the 90-foot cliff before she could no longer proceed forward, and the cliff was too steep for her to go back the way she came. At that point, Oreo seemed to know she was in trouble.

"Even the dog realized it was dumb move," said Capt. Todd Rollings of the Bodega Bay Fire Protection District. "She was scared. She wasn't going anywhere."

Authorities concluded that a helicopter would give them their best chance of saving Oreo. Pilot Paul Bradley and Deputy Henri Boustany flew to the rescue in the SCSO's Henry 1 chopper. The helicopter landed near Oreo with Boustany strapped to a 100-foot line. He approached Oreo cautiously because frightened dogs had attacked Sonoma County police officers in the past.

"I didn't want a 60-pound dog digging itself into me," Boustany said.

Luckily, neither the helicopter nor Boustany himself spooked Oreo. She appeared to be aware enough of her situation that she was simply happy to be rescued.

"The dog and I got to know each other real quick," Boustany said. "I think the dog just wanted to be out of there."

Boustany was able to grab Oreo in "kind of a bear hug," and kicked away from the cliff so that Bradley could lift him and Oreo up and away, drawing cheers from a watching crowd of people. Firefighters on the scene returned Oreo to her owner safely.

"She was relieved," Rollings said. "She was a very happy lady."

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