Santa Barbara County Search & Rescue assisted a Santa Maria couple and their dog on Monday after the pet suffered heat-related symptoms during a hike up the Gaviota Peak trail.
Wrigley, a black Labrador, began showing signs of heat distress just before the group reached the top of the trail, according to Sgt. Mark Williams, a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.
He said the couple tried to hike back to the trailhead with Wrigley, but about halfway down the mountain her paws appeared to be injured.
Williams said the owners attempted unsuccessfully to make an improvised stretcher out of branches and a blanket, then called 9-1-1 for help.
Santa Barbara County Search & Rescue teams were dispatched to the remote location, using 4-by-4 vehicles to navigate the steep fire road, according to Williams.
He said that one of SBCSAR’s dog handlers helped Wrigley cool down in the 95-degree heat. Williams said the dog appeared shaken and distressed, but wagged her tail as rescuers came to her aid.
Wrigley and her owners were transported back to their vehicle at the trailhead. Williams said the couple planned to seek veterinary care for Wrigley.
SBCSAR issued a reminder that dogs can overheat faster than humans because they do not sweat. Hikers are urged to take extra water for canine companions, to hike in the morning or evening, and to rest dogs if they show signs of overheating.