Rottweiler named Odin took Mount Washington had to be brought down
She bought the dog harness two years ago, not sure if she would ever use it.
But Jeannine Robbins of Thornton knew it was a good idea, that one day she might need it for her golden retriever, Appa. She never thought, however, that the harness would be a key part of a six-person civilian rescue this month.
A man and his injured dog, trapped three miles away on the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail on Mount Washington, were stranded. The dry, rough rock had cut off the dog’s paws, leaving him motionless. Other rocks were slippery, dangerous, the incline was steep, and the dog, a rottweiler, weighed at least 90 pounds. The dog in distress needed to be transported.
Sometimes it’s nice to have a sturdy dog harness handy.
“I hadn’t even taken the harness out of the box,” Robbins said this week. “I bought it, God forbid, to have it in case we need it.”
By the end of the ordeal, with everyone returning to the parking lot safely, the hiker and his dog had spent 24 hours in a grassy and wooded area. Robbins and his five teammates, all recently unknown to each other, spent around 12 hours on the job.
Robbins was the first on the scene. Jackson’s Christina Cozzens was No.3. They said the man’s name was Winston from western Massachusetts. They said he was young and thin and did not appear to have any night gear or extra food and water. The dog was called Odin. He was tall and mad, and his paws were badly cut and bleeding.
These two women are experienced hikers. Cozzens hiked the state’s 48 4,000-foot mountains. She walked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Robbins hikes, skis, snowshoes and mountain biking. She is also a group leader for the Appalachian Mountain Club.
They know about tough hikes, and both said this one was tough, with wet, jagged rocks and slabs – especially above tree line – and a nasty incline.
“It’s not an easy trail,” Robbins said.
They wondered why someone ill-prepared would bring a dog and try to tackle something so difficult and dangerous.
Moreover, help was not on the way. Not officially. The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department does not save dogs injured on a hike, Fish and Game Lt. Robert Mancini said.
“We don’t have the resources to climb a mountain to save a dog,” Mancini said. “We need to direct search and rescue to people. “
Every year, Fish and Game and other agencies warn hikers and campers not to be dumb. But, inevitably, some are.
“It’s important to know your limits and the limits of the person you are hiking with, the person and the animal,” Mancini said. “If the dog is used to walking in the backyard, it is not a good idea to take him up a mountain with rough terrain.
“It’s a great story that someone has come and helped,” he said.
There were six volunteers, united in a common goal. They went up there to help.
Robbins and Cozzens saw the alert on Facebook of the hikers who had passed Winston and Odin. The message said it was urgent. He asked if anyone had a dog harness.
The hike was almost three miles. The two women, at different places on the trail, gathered information from the hikers on the way down. The dog couldn’t move. They had been given food and water. And a sleeping bag.
“My mind started to think, ‘How are we going to get the dog out,’” Cozzens said. “It was super technical. Very wet rocks. Very slippery.
They arrived on site at the end of the morning. They bandaged Odin’s paws with gauze. Then a plan. There was no time to go up to the cogwheel railway for its last trip.
Come in, the dog harness.
They finally took it out of its packaging. They read the instructions. Then they strapped the dog into the harness and started to descend.
Two men shared the burden, pulling the harness back and forth after 15-minute shifts, relying on Cozzens to make sure their feet land on the flattest, driest spots she can. find.
“We’ve been talking all along,” Cozzens said. “We spent nine hours together and we had to trust each other. “
Soon the hikers were heading towards them, with food and water, at every turn. Then these people would join the caravan, until two or three dozen marched with the original six, triumphantly returning to civilization.
In the parking lot, they discovered watermelon and cold drinks on a picnic table. They learned that the New Hampshire Animal Rescue Team and Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue, both nonprofits, had lent a hand.
“Exhausted, hungry but thrilled,” is how Robbins described it.
She drove home to Thornton. And to Appa, his golden retriever.
“I watched my dog,” said Robbins, holding his dog harness. “I said, ‘Appa, you’re lucky you never had to use one.’ “