For several days, Debra and Dan Brookes heard barking in the distance.
Debra first heard it Aug. 12 while walking the couple's two Rottweilers.
It sounded like it came from somewhere not too far up the mountainside that looms behind their home in Barriere, B.C.
"I just thought, 'Oh there's a dog quite a ways up there,'" she told Daybreak Kamloops host Doug Herbert. She assumed it was a pet out for the day with its owner. But as time went on she noticed the location didn't change, and the barking didn't stop, and she grew worried.
As the barking continued, and shifted to howling over the following days, the couple checked with nearby neighbours to try to identify the missing pet, without success. They sought advice from the RCMP. Then they set out on a hike to try to find the distraught animal.
On the first day, Dan and Debra realized the stranded dog was not as close as it first sounded. Sound bouncing off the mountain can be deceiving that way, Debra said.
Difficult terrain forced them to turn back.
The next day, two neighbours living down the road pitched in and took a turn searching the mountain.
"It's quite heartbreaking to everyone to know that there was an animal stranded up there," Debra said.
The two men made it further and, she said, "they thought they were starting to get closer to the bark." But then darkness approached and the dog went quiet, so they were forced to turn back.
They mapped their route with waypoints to help the next searcher pick up the trail where they left off.
Debra and Dan waited before deciding whether to make another attempt the next day. They had doubts the animal would survive another night on the mountain.
"When we heard him barking, at 7:30 I believe it was, we just said, 'We have to go.'" Debra said.
Following the previous day's trail, they finally caught a glimpse of the frightened black-and-white dog, stranded on a ledge above a ravine. It was beyond their reach.
Suddenly the dog jumped or fell off the ledge, tumbled down the slope and landed in a creek at the base. Landing in the water appeared to break his fall, Dan said.
Dan made his way toward the dog, which he said quickly shifted from apparent shock to excited relief and started licking his face.
As the couple and the rescued dog turned toward home, "he followed me every step of the way out of there, and he stuck to me like glue."
The dog was quickly recognized as nearby resident Sharon McWatters's lost dog, Tonto. He had been missing for three weeks since bolting from home during a thunderstorm.
McWatters said she had given up hope of finding him.
"He's happy to be home, getting a little spoiled, a little thin and clingy but he is coming back slowly," McWatters wrote in a message. She is grateful to the couple for "the extreme effort they took to rescue him," as well as other community members who searched for him and kept her updated.
With files from Daybreak Kamloops and Deborah Wilson