A young beagle stranded on a mountain ledge proved a bark can be better than a bite by repeatedly howling until help arrived.

A six-man team from the Blount County Fire Department trekked two hours through thick undergrowth on Tuesday to reach a ridge 30 feet above the dog near the Foothills Parkway, bordering the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Then firefighter John Matlock rappelled down to the foot-wide ledge where the dog was stranded, overlooking a sheer drop of about 125 feet below.

Matlock tucked the pooch in a red bag and, with help from his fellow firefighters, brought the dog back to the top. The beagle was thin and thirsty but OK.

A group of cheerleaders from Heritage High School had camped across the highway the night before and complained they couldn’t get any sleep because of the dog’s howls.

After watching the rescue, they did what cheerleaders do. They cheered.

The dog’s owner, Katie Wilkinson of Walland, claimed the dog Wednesday after he had been taken to an animal shelter. She said the beagle disappeared March 9.

The dog’s name is Hass, short for Hasenfeffer, a German rabbit stew.

Randy Ball, who lives nearby, said he’d heard the dog’s howls through the woods for four days. It was Ball and property owner Max Walker, grandfather of one of the cheerleaders, who decided Tuesday to mount the rescue and call in the firefighters.

Ball said he figures the beagle, which had a collar but no tags, became stuck on the ledge while chasing a deer or other animal.