District of North Vancouver firefighters are warning the public after a dog was swept over a waterfall in Lynn Canyon and is presumed drowned.
The department was called to the creek just north of the suspension bridge around 4:30 p.m. Saturday when they received word that a nine-year-old golden retriever named Maya had slipped in.
"Obviously the owners were very distraught," said assistant fire chief Jeremy Duncan.
The crew's high-angle rope rescue team lowered one member down to the water's edge. Other firefighters and Metro Vancouver park rangers scoured both sides of the creek.
Duncan put a message out on social media soon after, asking everyone who might be planning to walk the trails in the area to keep an eye for Maya. According to her owners, she is a strong swimmer.
Crews were out for more than an hour searching the riverbank but saw no sign of the dog. Duncan said there is always hope that Maya made it out on her own and just hasn't been found yet. If she made it to shore and is still out there, she would be cold, tired and hungry, Duncan said. She is microchipped, meaning she should be easy to identify if someone brings her to a vet.
"There's always good news stories when an animal or a pet returns home," he said.
The incident underscores an important safety message District of North Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services always pushes this time of year.
"Whether it's your beloved pet or your children, or even yourself as a strong adult, just stick to the trails," he said. "It's still spring-like conditions with the snow melt coming down, so the river is quite high and it's fairly strong right now. It'd be very hard for even the best of swimmers to be able to navigate that river."
While it is not frequent, other dogs have been known to drown in North Vancouver's creeks, Duncan said.
"I think it's more common than people think," he said.
As parks gradually reopen and people spend more time outside, Duncan said it's important that hikers do their research before heading out and make sure they are well equipped.
This article originally appeared here.