Lost dog located after 22 days in mountains east of SH

The Linn County Sheriff’s Office reported this week that a “hiker” who had been lost for some 22 days in the mountains east of Sweet Home had been located.

Linn County Sheriff Bruce Riley said his office received a call at 7:45 p.m. Saturday, July 26, about “a possible lost hiker in the Cascadia area.”

Deputies arrived at the scene to learn that a family who had been hiking along the South Santiam River from Latiwi Creek Road found a very weak and hungry dog about two miles upstream from the road. The dog was described as a bull mastiff and was in a location with steep terrain providing no easy way out. Family members hiked out to call the Sheriff’s Office, then hiked back in to stay with the dog.

A deputy involved with the call remembered seeing a lost dog poster in the area; the dog was identified as Madison, a 10-year-old bull mastiff who had been lost in the area of Sevenmile Horse Camp on July 4.

“It appears Madison wandered lost for 22 days,” Riley said.

At about midnight, a team of Linn County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue volunteers were deployed to the area to assess the situation and ensure the safety of the family.

They made contact with the family at about 3 a.m. All family members were found well and Madison, after snacking on granola bars and dog food, was sleeping comfortably in a sleeping bag provided by the caller.

The team decided that, due to the difficult terrain, they would wait until daylight to attempt the rescue of Madison.

At about 6:30 a.m., the group began the process of helping the dog out. This included a climb up over and back down a steep rock face and several hundred yards of travel in the creek.

At one point Madison had to swim as the group traversed in waist deep water.

Using GPS, the team was able to identify a route from the creek uphill to the Santiam Wagon Road, a hiking trail that leads back to the main road. This route included moving cross-country through thick brush and up to 200 feet in elevation.

At 9:45 a.m. Madison was reunited with her owners, Lori Davis and Patrick Milligan from Scio.

“Needless to say, they were relieved to have her back,” Riley said.

Riley commended Search and Rescue Team members for their efforts, noting that they do so frequently, often without a lot of attention.

“It’s a bonus when we not only can help man but his best friend, also,” he said.