(Update: Finn found on Hwy. 97, owner to return for reunion)
German shepherd's owner says Finn was off-leash, drinking water, and got sucked into current.
TERREBONNE, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A German shepherd who was swept away in an irrigation canal at Smith Rock State Park on Tuesday has been found and is being reunited with his owners.
Finn was found running near Highway 97 on the north end of Terrebonne around 7 a.m. Saturday, a Facebook posting said.
The poster, seeking information regarding the owners, said the dog "was scared and seems under-weight but is very sweet." He had a collar but no ID, but Facebook users helped make the connection. The posting said the owners were returning to the area from Washington state, for a no-doubt happy reunion.
Still, the fortunate outcome to days of searching for Finn doesn't lessen the message shared earlier in the week by Smith Rock State Park Manager Matt Davey, to keep pets safe.
"If you're bringing your dog to Smith Rock State Park, we really, really strongly encourage you to keep that dog on a leash at all times,” Davey said Wednesday.
Kadie Brown said she was visiting from Seattle on Tuesday when she and her mother went hiking at Smith Rock.
Brown made a call no dog owner wants to make and reported to the Pet Evacuation Team that her German shepherd, Finn, was swept away in an irrigation canal near Wolf Tree Trail.
She said Finn was off-leash, drinking water, and got sucked into the fast-moving water.
Davey said the park, in conjunction with the Pet Evacuation Team of Redmond, has a number of signs warning about this issue.
"If your dog is off-leash, it can naturally want to get into the water right there," he said.
Davey said this same issue has occurred before, with some dogs surviving, and others not,
He said it occurs at most once a year, but it typically happens on extremely hot days, when dogs are trying to cool off.
Davey said whether it's the slower-moving Crooked River or the fast current in the canal, the on-leash rule is there for a reason.
"Don't let your dog off-leash,” Davey repeated. “There's more hazards than just the canal."
The canal would have taken Finn through a mile-long tunnel underneath Staender Ridge.
Davey said Finn would then have a 30- to 50-yard span past Burma Road, where he could have gotten out of the canal before going into another tunnel.
Davey said Wednesday that if Finn was a strong swimmer, there was a chance he made it out alive and was in the Sherman Canyon area, looking for help.
"Start calling for your dog, look for the wet footprints, and a lot of time your dog will come running,” Davey said. “They'll make it out of the canal."
However, if it missed that window, Davey explained that the canal then goes through a tunnel and a syphon, before leading out to the Culver/Madras area.
"Once it gets into that syphon, it's tough for a dog to hold its breath long enough to ride through that syphon and emerge on the other side of Sherwood Canyon.
Davey also urged those who find your dog caught not to jump in after it -- and risk your own life.
"And if something does go wrong and your dog does get swept into that canal, reaching out to park staff, we can help identify where the location would be to search for your dog,” Davey said.
Brown and Smith Rock rangers are still searching, and they ask anyone in the Sherman Canyon/Ranch at the Canyons/Terrebonne area to reach out if they spot the German shepherd.