Toby, a 1-year-old English Sheepdog poodle, leapt off a cliff at Gooseberry Mesa in Washington County on April 7 during a trail ride with his owners—the McInnes family—falling nearly 300 feet.
“The boys were right there with me; they saw him jump,” said Ben McInnes, Toby’s owner.
The owner thinks Toby spotted something and ran off.
“For a split second you hope that he landed on something, but I knew there was nothing over there,” Ben McInnes told KSL-TV. “It was awful. You could hear him sliding and bouncing and yelping.”
The McInnes family then decided to call search and rescue. Though at first, they told them they wouldn’t be able to make it because their service doesn’t deal with stranded animals.
However, after realizing that bystanders or family members would attempt to rescue the dog—and it was guaranteed that they’d get hurt or stranded themselves in the process, which they wanted to prevent—they decided to step in.
“When those things happen, we try and help them out. … It’s not something we normally do, just going to rescue a dog, but it’s just the complication of: If we don’t, who else is going to try and get down to him?” said deputy Darrell Cashin, with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
Toby fell 150 feet and then tumbled another 150 feet down the mountain, authorities said.
Toby was taken to St. George Regional Veterinary Hospital, where veterinarians said he suffered head, eye and brain injuries, as well as several scrapes and sore muscles.
Dr. Kelly Houston, a veterinarian at the St. George Regional Veterinary Hospital said he is quite surprised that Toby survived the deadly fall.
“I’ve been doing this for 25 years, and I’ve had patients fall 20 feet and die. I’ve never had one do what Toby did and survive,” Houston said.
Toby is set to be recovering at his family’s home in Eagle Mountain.