The Sonoma County Sheriff's Department reported Sunday that a black Labrador named Oreo somehow made its way half-way down a 90-foot cliff along the county's Pacific coast and couldn't get back up. With the surf pounding below, a descent was not an option. So the department's helicopter dubbed "Henry-1" was called in.
The dog was perched on a 2-foot square ledge when the helicopter crew arrived shortly before 2 p.m. PST Saturday at Portuguese Beach, about 70 miles north of San Francisco and about 20 miles west of Santa Rosa.
After the scared dog refused entreaties to climb back up, the decision was made to dangle a sheriff's deputy about 100-feet below the helicopter. After determining the dog wasn't spooked by the noise of the helicopter, the dangling deputy was able to attach a rope to the dog's harness and pull it to safety after about three minutes in the air.
A large crowd of beachgoers who gathered to watch the rescue on the unseasonably warm and sunny Saturday afternoon broke into applause.
Oreo was reunited with his owner.
Henry-1 has rescued several dogs over the years.
"The 'Henry-1' crew launched knowing from prior experiences that bystanders will often put themselves in peril in an attempt to save animals in distress and become victim's themselves," the department said in an unsigned statement.