Dog missing since Caldor Fire evacuations rescued from South Lake Tahoe snow mountain | Carson City Nevada News

Russ is one lucky dog ​​and he has a team of animal lovers and rescue experts in South Lake Tahoe to thank.

In August, Russ was in South Lake Tahoe with his owner who was in town on a temporary job when the three-year-old pit bull mix went missing.

A lost dog report was made and given to Animal Control, but the whole town was evacuated within two days due to the Caldor fire and Russ’ human had to leave without him. He returned home to Riverside County thinking he would never see Russ again.

Before and after the city repopulated, reports were posted on Facebook of a black dog with white chest markings appearing on their porches and yards or spotted in neighborhoods around Gardner Mountain.

Over time, Russ’ human told himself that he would never see his pet again.

Fast forward to Dec. 16 when Azul Latin Kitchen employee Christian Holland was out with a friend snowboarding and skiing between Twin Peaks and F Street in South Lake Tahoe. They saw a black dog in a tree deep in the snow, unable to move. The dog growled at them and they couldn’t get him back. Christian took photos and posted them to a lost and found pets page on Facebook where Tahoe PAWS and TLC 4 Furry Friends founder Wendy Jones saw them. Her group is professionally trained to search for missing animals and she travels through the Sierra and western Nevada to reunite humans with their beloved pets.

El Dorado County Animal Control Officer Kyle Shumaker was notified and drove to F Street but was unable to access the area due to snow depth of five feet and steep terrain because he had no equipment with him.

Wendy was on another missing animal case and called Leona Allen, a member of her team, to try and save the dog.

Leona, a former firefighter and former leader of the Lake Tahoe Basin Fire Academy, called Elsa Gaule, a Tallac Hot Shots member and instructor at the academy, to help retrieve the dog.

Leona received the photos taken by Christian and a map of where he and his friend had been. She and Elsa put on snow gear and headed out to F Street. It was already dark and the temperatures were approaching zero degrees. They found the snowboard and ski tracks of the two men who had seen the dog and climbed straight up the hill where Leona found dog tracks.

“I saw a black speck in the snow thinking the dog was dead,” Leona said after a mile up the hill in the snow.

As she got closer and the dog moved, Leona said it was “the happiest moment I’ve ever had”.

Elsa retrieved an ice rescue sled from Officer Shumaker and headed towards Leona.

Leona calls Elsa the “dog whisperer” and she was able to immediately calm the dog down and gave him treats, salami and a warm down coat. As she petted him, the dog put his head in Elsa’s hand and they sat together for about 30 minutes.

Seeing that the dog couldn’t go out on its own, they put him on a sled, but when the dog jumped, Leona sat in the sled with him and bundled him up. Elsa pulled the two down the hill on the sled. The sled tipped over and Elsa carried the dog the rest of the way.

There was a lot of laughter during the rescue, a sound that Leona and Elsa saw immediately calmed the dog.

“It wasn’t a smooth ride,” the ladies said as they methodically descended the steep hill in the dark.

Officer Shumaker immediately took the dog (still in Elsa’s down coat) to a vet to have him checked out and Leona and Elsa had to climb back up to retrieve some items left at the top.

“I’m super happy it turned out like this,” Leona said. “He wouldn’t have survived the night.

The next day, Leona went to see the rescued dog at the animal shelter and he didn’t want to leave her, a bond had formed. With the help of EDC Animal Services, volunteers from TLC 4 Furry Friends & Tahoe PAWS visited Russ daily to remind him that he was loved until he could return home.

Animal Control checked the dog for a microchip and found one, but found it was unregistered. They saw it was once in Riverside County, so they called every vet in the county, trying to track down who the found dog belonged to. They then found the old “lost dog” report from August and called the dog’s owner. He hadn’t paid to renew the chip because he thought his dog was gone forever.

Animal Control took the dog they then knew to be “Russ” to Placerville due to the impending storm, and the dog’s owner was able to pick him up there on December 26, four months after their separation.

This is a great reminder that microchipping your pet and maintaining registration in your name is important. It is also essential that you report your pet to the local animal services office if it goes missing.

Leona has been involved with PAWS as a tracker since December 2019. She has been involved in 10 dog rescues and eight cat rescues where significant action was needed (tracking, cameras, traps, overnight stays in the woods, etc.). Nine of his 10 dog rescues were successful, and five of eight cats were. One of the cat rescues involved overnight stays over Emerald Bay in the snow. She assisted about twenty others.

If you are interested in volunteering with TLC 4 Furry Friends (animal search and rescue) or Tahoe PAWS – Community Animal Response Team (disaster/emergency response), please contact Wendy Jones at 775-721-3647 (DOGS) or [email protected]

They do not charge for their services. Donations can be made to Tahoe PAWS,
PO Box 8292, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96158.