18-year-old volunteer saves trapped puppy’s life on his first rescue mission

In the beginning of October a group of friends and a 3 1/2-month-old puppy were taking a hike near Bridal Veil Falls in Telluride, Colorado. During their trip, the puppy named Blue lost its footing.

The puppy fell 15 feet down to a small ledge in a narrow chute, but was thankfully not injured.

The group of friends attempted to rescue the puppy themselves. One of the male hikers positioned himself below the puppy in case Blue fell. He was also in position in case the 25-year-old woman, who volunteered to make her way to the puppy, slipped.

Just as she was about to reach Blue, she lost her footing and fell 30 feet off a cliff. The man broke her fall, but the two slid another 20 feet down a vertical scree field, according to the San Miguel County Sheriff.

The group of hikers then contacted emergency services for help.

San Miguel County Search and Rescue, deputies, and EMS responded to the scene and worked together to first rescue the two injured hikers.

After a nail-biting rescue that involved multiple rescuers, the hikers were back on steady ground and transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The 25-year-old woman was said to have suffered traumatic injuries, while the man had minor injuries.

“Very, very lucky,” Susan Lilly, a public information officer for the San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office and EMT, told CBS Denver. “This could have certainly had a different outcome, really a life altering outcome, from the kind of fall she took.”

Now it was time to turn their attention to Blue. “People before puppies,” Lilly explained to Telluride News. However for the team, “there was no doubt in anybody’s mind that we were going to rescue that puppy.”

A separate rope system was set up in order to rappel down to the young puppy, and Wiley Holbrooke, 18, and a senior team member, Chris White, got to work.

Holbrooke, a recent high school graduate, joined the search and rescue team not long ago. In fact, this was his first rescue mission.

He lowered himself to where Blue was positioned, clipped the frightened puppy onto his belt, and reunited her with her owner.

Despite being a new team member, Holbrooke’s skill and calm demeanor helped save Blue’s life.

“For me, it was the perfect scenario to get thrown into as my first time because I could get It done, I knew how it was supposed to go,” he said.

The entire rescue took three and a half hours.

Way to go Wiley! You proved that age plays no part in how skilled you are. Thank you for saving Blue.

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