Firefighters rescue dog after cliff fall

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Donna Rae Boston was walking in the backyard of a home she was house-sitting June 7 when her black lab hopped in an effort to see over the tall grass and inadvertently jumped off a 100-foot cliff.


“The first couple seconds seemed like hours,” she recalled. “Every time I saw something black down the cliff my heart just dropped.”


Then she saw Brandi, the 16-month-old dog she rescued from a shelter in Colorado, standing on a ledge about 25 feet below the top and still 70 feet above the beach at the end of Gehrke Road.


Boston said Brandi looked confused, but didn’t appear to be hurt and wasn’t crying or yelping.


“She had angels carrying her down,” Boston said.


Boston called 9-1-1 and Tracy Kellas, of the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office, arrived and requested Clallam County Fire District 3’s technical rescue team.


Staff from Stations 33 and 34, led by Fire Capt. Chris Turner, conducted a challenging but well-controlled rescue mission, Public Information Officer Peter Loeb said.


Firefighter/EMT Kel Skov, assisted by Ron Whitney and Travis Anderson, donned a special climbing harness and was lowered by rope down the steep embankment, Loeb said. Upon reaching the dog, Skov harnessed it and it was hoisted to safety.


“Our district recently completed Rescue Systems 1 training, so it was a positive coincidence for all, including Brandi, that we could intervene and bring the right result,” Turner said.


Boston said she couldn’t believe the compassion she received from the firefighters, Kell as and neighbors she had never even met.

“I cannot give them enough credit,” she said of the rescue crew. “They knew what they were doing and they just did it. It’s great that they have that training … I would’ve been devastated had it gone any other way.”



Reach Amanda Winters at

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