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Injured Labrador Retriever Rescued Over Memorial Day Weekend HikingTrip

Hiking can be even more fun with a companion. However, if the hiker isn’t prepared or encounters a problem the healthy activity can become dangerous.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s emergency dispatchers received a call on Sunday night, just after 7 p.m., from a hiking group deep in the San Rafael wilderness who needed help carrying out a, injured 75-pound Labrador retriever.

“The dog named ‘Rex’ had sustained a leg injury while hiking in a remote area which prevented the group, consisting of two women in their 30’s and two boys ages 10 and 12, from taking him back the six miles to their vehicle at Nira Campground,” said Kelly Hoover with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.

“Due to the concern the group would put itself at a greater risk by trying to transport the dog out down the backcountry trail plans were initiated to help evacuate the injured dog,” added Hoover. “However, due to the remote location, the fact there was not a life threatening situation and the information that the campers had camping supplies with them, the decision was made to respond the following morning at first light.”

Santa Barbara County Search and Rescue team members hiked to the location of the injured canine after securing a landing zone several miles from the site, and helped carry “Rex” out on a stretcher.

“Rex” and his human companions were then airlifted back near the trailhead at Nira where the group was able to get to their vehicle and get the dog medical attention.

Santa Barbara County Search and Rescue wants to remind the public of a few safety tips when hiking or camping out with your four-legged best friend:

Dogs can overheat faster than humans because they do not sweat so take extra water for canine companions.
Hike in the morning or evening and be sure to rest the dogs if they show signs of overheating.
Take advantage of shade and pools of water for cooling yourself and your dogs.
Be aware that the air temperature can dramatically increase up to 20 degrees or more as you hike up the trail due to lack of shade or water.
Dogs cool themselves by panting so if the air is hot then your dog is hot.
Cool your dog’s body by wetting trunk and legs with cool, not cold, water and fan if possible as you continue to cool the dog to normal temperature.
Seek veterinary attention immediately.
For more tips, safety precautions, and to learn about signs your four-legged friend may show when in trouble, go to

The Tunnel Road Trail in Santa Barbara is popular hiking spot for people and their dogs. A Santa Barbara resident tell us what he does to make sure his dog is safe.

“We don’t walk too far. If I’m walking more than a couple of miles, I bring some water with me, but today it’s short walk so we made sure we had a drink before we go,” said Ivan Girling.

For general hiking and safety tips, go to Watch the Search and Rescue team carry “Rex” out of the wilderness and into a waiting helicopter on the video below.

NewsChannel 3’s Vicky Nguyen will have a live report this evening on NewsChannel 3 at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.

VIDEO: Labrador Retriever Rescued in Santa Barbara Backcountry Trail

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