I was hiking with my dogs when Jessie (Dutch Shepherd) got caught in the trap. We were in the Jemez Recreation Area close to FR 376. There are no trailheads in this area, just well traveled 4×4 roads and trails. We were on one of my favorite trails from FR 376 that connects to an old road going up a small canyon. Photo (below) shows her just before she was trapped. There were feathers hanging above the trap and she went to check them out (see below). It snapped shut and her cries were horrible. Fortunately, she did not struggle and waited for me to figure out how to free her. Perhaps it helped that my older dog was laying against her for support.

Even though I have had training on traps, each trap is different. The basic design for most traps are similar, there is a mechanism to unlock, and then a place to squeeze for release. I eventually figured out how to unlock it, tried to squeeze but nothing was moving, Jessie cried out and adrenaline kicked in and I found the strength to open it enough that she slipped out. I am treating swelling on her wrist with anti-inflammatories I carry with me just in case. I do not see any damage to her teeth but she did split a nail on her other foot from pawing at the trap.

My dogs work in search and rescue so I knew trap basics from training at our conferences. Without the training I am sure my dog would have been badly injured. The trap was heavily chained and not movable, so the only option to save my dog was to remove her from the trap. There was a family with kids and dogs on the other side of the road, perhaps it is good that I was the one to discover this trap.

–Jemez Recreation Area