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Rescued hiker reunited with missing dog thanks to Vancouver Island volunteer

Alberni Valley Rescue Squad member Rory Ford is pictured with Izzy the dog. (Image credit: Alberni Valley Rescue Squad/Facebook) Alberni Valley Rescue Squad member Rory Ford is pictured with Izzy the dog. (Image credit: Alberni Valley Rescue Squad/Facebook)
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An injured hiker who was airlifted by search and rescue teams near Port Alberni, B.C., over the weekend has been reunited with his dog, after a dedicated rescuer went back to find her.

On Saturday night, the hiker was hurt after falling about 10 feet on Mount Arrowsmith, the Alberni Valley Rescue Squad recounted in a social media post.

The search and rescue team sent two medical crews to find the man, and he was located off-trail between the Climbers and Judges routes. Thankfully, he had cell reception and could “ping” his location, AVRS noted.

North Shore Rescue was also called for assistance, and it sent a Talon helicopter and night hoist team from the Lower Mainland. NSR airlifted the hiker to Nanaimo, where he received medical care.

An injured hiker is pictured on Mount Arrowsmith before being airlifted to Nanaimo for treatment. (Image credit: Alberni Valley Rescue Squad/Facebook)However, the hiker’s companion, a dog named Izzy, was still missing on the mountain. AVRS said the dog ran away before rescuers arrived, and despite their efforts she “was nowhere to be found, especially after the helicopter had come in.”

“Some members had treats and, despite calling for the dog, the team made the difficult decision to leave Izzy,” AVRS wrote.

Enter Rory Ford. The volunteer returned to the mountain the next morning on his own to look for the dog.

“Rory had a visual sighting on the dog a significant distance from where her owner was injured,” VFRS wrote in a Sunday update. “He managed to coax the dog out and bring the dog back to his truck.”

Ford explained in another post that he followed the hiker’s tracks until he heard Izzy barking, followed that sound and then spent an hour coaxing her along before carrying her down the mountain.

“It was old school, bark-only contact, no GPS ping!” Ford’s quoted saying.

A man who identified himself as the hiker left comments on AVRS’s post expressing his gratitude.

“Thank you so much for rescuing not only me but my dog from the mountain,” wrote Carl Barnes. “Much appreciated and will never be forgotten.”

AVRS gave its own shout-out to Ford in a “meet our members” post on Monday. It says the veteran volunteer has been with the team for over 25 years, is the squad’s longest-serving member and has been on more rescue missions than anyone else.

“Rory is a selfless, helpful, dedicated, caring person. His act of service yesterday, skillfully locating and rescuing the dog Izzy, exemplifies who he is. Rory is the guy who will just show up to a call and jump right in to help,” AVRS wrote.

The search and rescue team noted that the hiker had food, emergency supplies and appropriate clothing with him, but he was unfamiliar with the Mount Arrowsmith trails. “Additionally, the subject was feeling pressured to hurry due to the dwindling daylight hours.”

AVRS reminded nature-goers that area mountains are still cold and slippery, even with the lack of snowpack, and urged anyone hiking in the backcountry to have a detailed trip plan, stick to trails within their skill level and bring the right essentials.

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