ANCRAM–Friends of a four-legged hiker who could not get him to move off a trail on Alander Mountain, called 911 for help.
Ancram Fire Chief David Boice told those gathered at the June 21 Ancram Town Board meeting in his monthly report that he received a call from a 911 dispatcher telling him that a group of four hikers on a Taconic State Park Trail needed some assistance getting a dog that belonged to one of them back to their vehicle parked off Under Mountain Road. The call came in Memorial Day weekend, Sunday, May 27 at 9:46 p.m., according to 911 records.
The chief said he wasn’t certain what was going on; there was no mention about the dog being hurt. So he decided the call really wasn’t one that required the services of firefighters, and that’s what he told the dispatcher.
About 10 minutes later, the chief got another call, this one from one of the hikers, who insisted they needed help getting their dog off the trial. The chief was still reluctant, but then the hiker said: “Listen, if you won’t come and get the dog, maybe you could at least bring us some flashlights so we can see our way along the trail to walk back there and bring the dog some water.”
One of the hikers had stayed behind with the dog on the trail, a half a mile or more in the woods, then every couple of hours or so another of the hikers would return to the dog’s location to bring water to the dog and relieve the hiker keeping the dog company.
The chief said he got to thinking about those hikers stumbling around out there in the dark. He told the hiker, “What you’re really telling me is if I don’t come out there and pick you guys up now, I’m going to get a call later tonight telling me somebody ran into a bear or a snake and needs to be rescued.”
So, Ancram firefighters were called to the scene. About 15 to 20 of them showed up, bringing with them a couple of ATVs. Assistant Chief John MacArthur brought a golf cart from the Undermountain Golf Course. The trail was wide enough and they were able to drive in.
The dog turned out to be a Bernese Mountain Dog and St. Bernard mix. The big fluffy, long-haired dog weighing about 130 pounds, had been hiking around the mountain all day in the 85-degree heat with its human companions.
The dog was hot and tired, and, having had enough of hiking, wanted to rest.
When the golf cart pulled up, Chief Boice said the dog jumped right in, enjoyed the ride back to the parking lot, happily hopped out at the end of the trail and was ready to go home.
“The dog was the smartest one of the bunch,” said the chief, it was as if it was saying, “I’m not leaving until I get a ride.”
Firefighters were clear from the call at 11:22 p.m.