Missing dog found in Santa Margarita

December 28, 2010

Otto, the chocolate lab dog who was swept away in a swift current ten days ago in Upper Lopez Canyon is safe at home tonight.

A rancher in Santa Margarita found the missing dog Tuesday morning when he went out to check on his cattle. He notified the Brown family in Orcutt, who immediately headed north to retrieve the dog.

“Otto is extremely thin and full of ticks,” an elated Ethan Brown said Tuesday. “He appears tired and worn out and was probably in the woods for the last ten days.”

Otto disappeared when he accidentally fell in the rushing water while running with Brown and other friends. Brown jumped into the water in an attempt to rescue his dog, but could only watch as the dog was swept away.

Otto is scheduled for a complete medical evaluation Wednesday afternoon.

KCOY has video of the dog’s reunion with Ethan Brown.

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Yeah for Otto!! His owner must be so very happy! Otto must also be happy. I bet he will be gitting some special dinners for a while!

I should have realized that a domestic animal is comfortable approaching openly to a human being in the daytime (ranch setting) whereas a wild animal will not.

Farms, ranches and camp sites in the vicinity should not be overlooked when searching for a lost domestic animal in the wilderness.

I find it interesting that there is a consistent subset of posters on this board that persist in engaging in Ad Hominem attacks when someone else posts an opinion, sarcastic or not, that they themselves don’t agree with. Perhaps a review of this phenomenon is necessary to understand that it just doesn’t further a discussion and actually detracts from the attacker’s point-of-view. I’ve taken the liberty of providing a handy link:


Regardless…..I stand by my opinion and statement that as an owner, I need to practice good judgement when it comes to my pet’s (esp my dog’s) safety and being out in inclement weather that was widely broadcast prior to the onset is foolhardy at best and most often, disasterous. Given where this event transpired, Otto is lucky that coyotes, cougars or even a bear didn’t get to him not to mention the plethora of injuries he could have sustained especially when he reportedly went over a 200 foot waterfall. In the end, I wish this dog well and a quick and speedy recovery from its adventures. My hope too is that his owner learned a hard but apparently necessary lesson about pet ownership…..the outcome could have been so different.


Glad the dog was found…..sounds like he’ll recover which is incredibly lucky.

Keeping your dog leashed especially in the back country is a good idea……really, who would have thought a Lab (?!) would jump in the water? (Yes….I was being sarcastic) Seriously…..to be a good dog owner, ya have to be at least 10% smarter than them and being an owner of a Lab/Terrier mix, I confess to being challenged on more than one occasion. But at the end of the day, it’s my responsibility to protect her and keep her from harm and that includes using a leash, having her trained, getting her spayed and vaccinated, feeding her good quality food and providing an interesting and enriching lifestyle etc. etc…….obviously, others have different ideas of what pet ownership means.

Here’s hoping the owner learned a very valuable lesson (abet at the expense of his dog being lost, injuried, hungry, frightened, etc.) and will become the owner this brave dog deserves.


Some of the posters here are just plain mean and sarcastic. Otto didn’t jump in the water, he isn’t stupid and his owner knows that better than anyone. He fell in the water and it was an odd accident.

Generally it would have been safe to allow Otto to run with his jogging dad and his friends off leash in that secluded area. I’m sure Otto loves to run and enjoys the freedom just like everyone else enjoys being off their leash once and a while.

Nancy I disagree with you. Justapostingcat, Citizen and GeminiSappho are not mean and sarcastic. That takes mental capacity. These 3 are very feeble minded sanctimonious self rigtheous pathetic excuses for human beings that are incapable of enjoying a heartwarming story and worse, wish to share their miserable view of the world with the rest of us. Its clear that none of them have ever owned a pet let alone a dog. Its as if no one has been around today to change them. Lets all hope that the new suppositories the FDA has approved for these perfect orifices are released soon. Hmmm….having said all that, it seems a little harsh, spot on, but harsh. thank god Xmas is over.

As I said before, I don’t know the circumstances of this incident, but there is nothing wrong with telling people that there is another way, a way that ranchers use all the time, to rescue dogs and cattle that fall into flooded creeks. I don’t think that this makes me a “feeble minded sanctimonious self righteous pathetic excuse for a human being”. You obviously have never lived in the country, and I do own a dog that I never take hiking because he’s old, half blind and deaf, and I’d have to carry him. So there.

Don’t be an idiot. This was obviosuly an accident. Go home and pet your cats and make excuses as to why you are still single.

So, I’m happy about the dog, his Vet checkup…Great news….Why hasn’t this site posted any stories about the brutal murders in Santa Margarita?

Don’t know the circumstances in this case, but in general, it’s better to follow the dog along the creek bank. Often the animal will hit some debris in the creek where they can scamper out, or we used to lasso the animal and pull them out. Of course, this means you have a rope and can lasso.

It’s just a safer way to save an animal than jumping in the creek.

Glad the dog has been found.

Very awesome that Otto was found!

The owners should have taken him to the vet, though immediately. Ticks can cause many health issues including paralysis. Assuming he has malnutrition and dehydration and that many issues can arise from that as well; that would have been a given for me to take my dog to the vet asap for an exam as opposed to waiting until Wednesday afternoon. After all the hoopla and search teams looking for hard for Otto they owed it to him to get medical care asap! Not to be a downer but it is just the responsible thing to do. Yet I guess taking your dog into the pouring rain, hiking in a secluded canyon that is prone to raging rivers( that have killed people already) and mud slides, does not show much intelligence on their part as it is, so why would I think medical care for their dog would be at the top of their list.

1) What makes you think the guy isn’t going to take the dog to a vet for a check up ?


2) What happened to you in your youth that has made you such a pathetic miserable human being. I mean I am a “the glass is half empty and its white Zin anyway so wnat the Hell” kind of guy, but you make me look like I have rose colored glasses on.

Responsible dog owners keep their dogs on leashes and under control; this prevents them from falling into rushing rivers. What good is it doing anyone or anything to have an uncontrolled dog anywhere, particularly on a trail?

GeminiSappho – Ethan Brown retrieved his dog yesterday and set up a full medical examination today. While Otto is malnourished he certainly isn’t dehydrated, not with all the rain we’ve had. As for the ticks, one day isn’t going to make a difference to test and treat him if he has contracted a tick borne disease and I have no doubt that Brown removed the blood suckers himself, right after he fed Otto a nutritious meal yesterday afternoon.

I do have to admit that when I read the story about Otto missing, I was very angry with the owner. I decided not to comment on that blog because I figured that Brown was surely already feeling bad enough without hearing about it from the rest of the peanut gallery.


That Otto made quite a journey and survived all of it…the river water, weather, wildlife, traffic, pestilence and disease. What a tough and truly blessed little doggy he is. Congrats to that alert rancher in Santa Margarita and the family who will understandably spoil him rotten. Happy New Year!

Heck Yeah, Double KUDO’s to the rancher in SM that spotted Otto and called his family.

I’m so pleased to hear that Otto has been found safe. He is such a cute ” person” and I’m sure he is happy to be home with his family, all warm, safe, snuggled up and well fed. Poor little guy went through so much trauma but he got lucky and he is a strong swimmer. Good for you, little tough guy ;)