GOVERNMENT CAMP, Ore. - After three climbers and their dog disappeared over a ledge in a snowstorm on Mount Hood, their fellow climbers looked in vain for them. Meanwhile, hundreds of miles away in a small town outside Seattle, a collie named Lassie, owned by 8-year old Timmy Martin, began to bark. "Why is that damn dog barking?" demanded Timmy's mother, 36-year old Ellen Martin. "There's no one in that damn well," she screamed at Lassie. But when Lassie grabbed the car keys from the dining room table and dragged Timmy to the family station wagon, Mrs. Martin began to think something could be wrong. Mrs. Martin, Timmy and Lassie hopped in, and it was off to Mount Hood.

"Lassie's a smart dog," Mrs. Martin later recounted, "she drove the whole way to Mount Hood. But that barking almost drove me back to illegal narcotics. At some point we're going to have to let someone die just to teach her a lesson." Arriving at Mt. Hood, Lassie quickly organized a rescue team and led the searchers to the stranded climbers in 22 minutes.