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Lost dog rescued from precarious perch on Tucson cliff

A lost dog who took a serious hike into the mountains north of Tucson was rescued Sunday morning. Kanto was discovered atop Blackett's Ridge, a three-mile hike up a steep, 1,700-foot rock outcropping above Sabino Canyon.

Kanto was spotted from a Pima County Sheriff's Department helicopter perched above the sheer drop at the top of the ridge separating Sabino and Bear canyons after an "unattended canine" was reported in the area Thursday around 9:25 a.m., a PCSD spokesman said.

Sitting at the edge of the cliff, hundreds of feet tall, the dog sparked concern among deputies that his owner might be in danger, or that others might endanger themselves trying to rescue him, Deputy James Allerton said.

Search and Rescue deputies and Southern Arizona Rescue Association volunteers used a safety line to reach the dog and remove him from the cliff area. They then hiked him down to safety, Allerton said.

The dog had a microchip implant, allowing deputies to easily identify him.

Kanto's owner was out of town, and the dog escaped from a house sitter Saturday night, Allerton said. The house sitter searched for Kanto, hanging signs around the neighborhood and posting pictures on social media, but was unable to locate him.

"Kanto is resting from his ordeal at a SARA volunteers house and will be reunited with his owner in the morning," Allerton said.

Kanto was unavailable for comment and did not immediately respond to questions about why he climbed up a miles-long trail known as a "technical" hike to reach a treacherous cliff face.

Blackett's Ridge is part of the ridge separating Sabino Canyon and Bear Canyon, in the Santa Catalina Mountains north of Tucson. It is about 4,400 feet in elevation at its highest, with the trailhead below at the start of Sabino Canyon about 2,700 feet.

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Kanto the dog, seemingly saying both 'What's all the fuss?' and 'Can I go home now?'