As they made their way down a path from Punchbowl Falls in Oregon's Columbia River Gorge, Michelle Simmons and her family watched as their 1-year-old Labradoodle, Gracie, began wrestling with another dog in their group — and then fell down a 200-foot cliff.
“We kept hearing her rolling and rolling, she yelped out and we thought we had lost her,” Simmons said in video interview.
Simmons and her family — along with the church group they were with Sunday afternoon — couldn't hike down the nearly sheer-face of the cliff, so a couple of people tried taking a wide path around and down the steep drop to try and spot the dog. But after an hour of looking, they couldn't see her, the Oregon Humane Society told TheBlaze.
Believing Gracie was dead, Simmons and her family held an impromptu memorial service for her at the cliffside, picking up rocks and throwing them in the river below as they recalled things they loved about their pet, KOIN-TV reported.
Simmons said everyone was in the car about ready to leave when a "good Samaritan" hiker ran up to them and said, "I saw her on a ledge, she’s alive, she’s alive!"
The call went out and soon 10 members of the Humane Society’s volunteer technical rescue team arrived on the scene. They set up a rope-and-pulley apparatus with harnesses and lowered a team member down the cliff.
Once the rescuer found Gracie, she was fitted with a harness and both were hoisted back to the top of the ledge just after midnight Monday, the humane society said.
Gracie was checked out and only suffered scratches and bruises — and she can walk.
“She was barking, wagging her tail,” Simmons said. “It was a miracle, no one believed it.”
This story has been updated.