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Glasgow Volunteer Fire Department makes harrowing rescue to reunite a dog with its family

Sampson ended up down a ravine and pinned underneath large rocks following Monday’s thunderstorms.

A Rockbridge County family is incredibly thankful to local first responders after they made an unusual rescue.
A Rockbridge County family is incredibly thankful to local first responders after they made an unusual rescue.

GLASGOW, VA. – A Rockbridge County family is incredibly thankful to local first responders after they made an unusual rescue.

Sampson, the Lemmon family dog, was trapped down a cliffside and could have easily died. But the Glasgow Volunteer Fire Department immediately went to work and made a happy ending for all.

It’s a good day to be Sampson the dog up on the mountain in Glasgow. It’s an especially good day after you hear about how his week started.

His owner, Galen Lemmon, said Sampson got spooked during Monday’s rainstorms and took off for the hills.

“I had been praying the whole time, ‘Lord, help me find him and protect him.’ So just going that extra 100 feet, I found the needle in the haystack,” explained Lemmon.

He found Sampson pinned in a steep ravine between heavy rocks on his sprawling property 19 hours later.

Knowing he wouldn’t be able to get him back up, he called 911 for help and Chief John Hill and the Glasgow Volunteer Fire Department responded.

“You can read dogs,” Hill said. “And with Sampson, you can tell he really wanted help and it was time that he got help.”

They initiated a high-angle rescue, loading Sampson into a basket and keeping him calm. Hill said they’re trained to respond to it all.

“Every life is important and between the two in a rescue in that situation, you package the same, the lower, the haul, the rope system is the same,” Hill said.

With the package secure, they gently slid Sampson up the steep cliffside, inch by inch, making sure he got all the way to the top. From there, they carried him through the woods, back to the road and right into the pickup truck to take him to the vet, marking another mission success and job well done.

“We’ve gotten cats out of trees too, so whether it’s up or down we’re there and we’re helping,” Hill said.

Sampson somehow escaped the entire ordeal without a single scratch and it wasn’t long before he was back to his normal self. He turns 15 this December and the Lemmons are counting their blessings.

“It was just like a miracle that we even found him let alone the fact that he was not injured, or he could have been dead, you know in that situation real easily. Or the Coyotes could have found him and he would have been gone, he wouldn’t have had a chance, not a chance,” Lemmon said

The Rockbridge County Sheriff’s Office also helped with the rescue.

As for Sampson, Lemmon said they’re looking into a collar with a GPS locator.