Tragic tale of dog falling off 70 ft cliff breaking his legs has happy ending


On July 4, two Good Samaritans came across a heartbreaking sight as they were walking their dogs along Santa Barbara’s Thousand Steps to Hendry’s Beach; a dog – lying motionless and face down brought tears to their eyes. At first, the women thought the dog was dead and appeared as if he had been in a fight. He was not – the dog was in a state of shock after plummeting 70 feet from the cliff above; breaking two legs and injuring his hip.

The Santa Barbara Police and the Harbor Patrol responded to the call for help.

“He fell from a jagged cliff, 70-80 feet to the beach below in the early morning hours. He laid injured for approximately 6 hours until found by a good Samaritan. He has the will to survive, we hope we can help him have a second chance if he finds himself unclaimed by an owner,” the DAWG Adoption & Welfare Group posted on their social media page hoping to garner help from the community for the dog’s emergency care.

“Santa Barbara County Animal Services, K-9 PALS – K-9 Placement and Assistance League, Inc. and DAWG have been collaboratively working to try and help this pup. His emergency medical bills are adding up quickly. Since his rescue, he’s received x-rays, bloodwork and pain medication, just to name a few. By Monday, we anticipate our bill will be nearly $7,000. He will still need two extensive orthopedic surgeries after that for his two broken legs.”

No one knows who the dog belongs to nor did anyone step forward to find him, however Lucas (Clifford) is estimated to be no more than 18 months and a pit mix. It didn’t take long before his story went viral and animal advocates volunteered to help raise the funds needed for his expensive surgery.

“Clifford” as everyone is lovingly calling this survivor is doing well at the emergency hospital. He’s eating, drinking, taking his medication and getting lots of cuddles from the vet staff. He’s comfortable, friendly and happy. Clearly, someone loved and cared for him. It’s devastating to know there may be an owner out there for this boy.

The dog’s tragic accident was captured on a surveillance camera near the Thousand Steps where he fell. Rescue crews were able to put him on a board and transfer him to a veterinary hospital.

Once his stray period is up, Clifford will become a shelter dog with Santa Barbara County Animal Services. Sadly, he has a long road ahead of him in terms of recovery. DAWG – Dog Adoption & Welfare Group  have procured a medical foster to care for him after his orthopedic surgeries. 

On Sunday, Lucas had his surgery, and he is recovering. He will remain at the hospital for a few days to ensure his pain is under control and will then move on to his foster home. For the next several weeks, he will receive physical therapy, pain medication control and antibiotics to prevent infection.

“Again, we’d like to thank K-9 PALS – K-9 Placement and Assistance League, Inc.who is accepting donations to pay for his ongoing medical expenses, DAWG – Dog Adoption & Welfare Group who has been instrumental in leveraging support and securing a foster home, and of course #SantaBarbaraPoliceDepartment and Officer Trujillo who saved Lucas, rushed him to VCA Care Specialty & Emergency Animal Hospital and visited him several times (and brought him a teddy bear!) while he was being stabilized.”

Donations for Lucas’ continuing care and veterinary expenses can be made on the K-9 PALS website http://k-9pals.org/ ;then please mention which dog in the box for message/comments. You may also send a check by mail to K-9 PALS, P.O. Box 60755, Santa Barbara, CA 93160-0755, and just mention it is for “Indy, the cliff dog.”

Had all of the wonderful volunteers, rescue organizations and generous public not helped, Lucas would have been humanely euthanized. What a difference a village makes.

Get well soon Lucas.




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