Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Leaving your best friend behind...

Who is YOUR best friend?  I consider myself a lucky lucky girl.  I have many friends and a few spread around the world.  I have some friends who I talk to less, but I know they'll be there for me no matter what.  I also have some friends who I see very often who I argue with more but I love dearly and would not know what to do without them.  And then I have some other friends who I see every once in a while, but we talk as if we hung out every day.  Some better than others, but in the end, they are all my friends.

I have one friend who is by my side no matter what.  I met him three years ago, and while he was brought to my life through someone else, we've become REALLY close over the past 2 years.  He is my BEST FRIEND.  He listens anytime I need anyone to just listen. He understands when I'm sad and sits by my side when I cry. He celebrates my successes with me (he has an amazing smile)... and plays with me when I'm in the mood for playing.  His name is Levi and he looks something like this:

This is Levi

Levi has been in my man's life for a good 4(ish) years and I've been in theirs for just over 3... and let me tell you, it's been an honor.  They're my boys and I love them both.  Over the past few years, we've hiked many mountains, we've gone on endless runs, we've snuggled, we've played, we've watched tv together... all sorts of things. And honestly, I don't know what I'd do without him (and I'm talking about Levi... I guess Chuck as well, hehe).  All our trips, weekend plans and outings are planned with our puppy in mind.  We've driven thousands and thousands of miles instead of flying, just to be able to bring our puppy with us because well, he's family... and yep, we are a GOOD LOOKING FAMILY.

A-top Mt. Elbert.  July, 2012
A-top Mt. Belford. April, 2012
As you can see, we take him anywhere we go.  Even top of mountains.  But we tend to be very cautious when we make decisions of when and where he can go based on his abilities.  He's an outdoorsy and active dog, just like mom and dad... so he's a great companion, but as such, we try to make sure he'll be safe at all times.  When the days are long, we make him carry his pack, with booties to protect his paws/pads if need be, a blanket which we sometimes use for him on the summit for him to lay on, some water, some food and some treats.  We treat him as our kid and look after him at all times.  He's great at staying close, staying on trail when asked to, and overall, he's a pretty great hiking partner.

The reason why I post this is because as of Sunday, someone posted on 14ers.com, that they found a dog, left alone, hurt and dehydrated on the Sawtooth.  A ridge that connects Mt. Bierstadt (one of the easiest 14ers) and Mt. Evans (another 14er... one that you can drive up to).  If interested, you can find the route by clicking here.  Anyway, the couple started a thread where they post a picture of the dog, and tried to (with the aid of yet another picture) explain the location of the dog.  They said the dog's paws were badly hurt and she refused to walk, but they put some bandages on her paws, left some water and food and came back home to post that thread and ask for help.  They, unfortunately, were unable to carry the dog out being that she is a big German Shepherd and they didn't have anything to carry her with.

Picture posted by "wash" on 14ers.com

This triggered all sorts of comments by way too many people... but regardless, a rescue mission was organized by people that had never met this dog and were just determined to save this poor soul who was abandoned up there with no shelter, food or water.  Apparently, the first rescue attempt failed, they couldn't locate the dog... but a second rescue mission was organized, again, by 14er.com members and this time, this person "wash" was coming along.

Long story short, they found the dog yesterday... they carried her down and pretty much saved her life.  In the meantime, the thread on the website was going all over the place.  The owner of the dog was mentioned a few times, but there was no sight of him.. anywhere.  People were actually wondering if the dog was truly there since there was no one claiming a dog... SAR (Search and Rescue) did not mention of anyone claiming the dog.  Apparently animal control didn't know either.  All these authorities were called before heading out on a rescue mission.

Dog found on the ridge under pretty harsh conditions by the rescuers (Photo posted on 14ers.com).
Last night, the story was on 9news at which point the owner decided to join 14ers.com and claim his dog.  Ok, 14ers.com members are a tough crowd and this episode created all sorts of opinions, but seriously... let others randomly find your dog, put their own lives at risk, rescue your dog and you come out of the blue and claim her?  One person saw him hiking on Aug 5th., that means... he left the dog on the mountain that day, the dog was found on Aug 12th and rescued on the 13th.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  Leave your dog to die for 8 days... I just can't wrap my head around that.

Carrying the dog down to safety... I think she looks relieved (Photo posted on 14ers.com).
What does the owner say?  Well, the dog was tired and hurt, she wouldn't move so he (and his climbing partner) tried carrying her down but weather was on it's way so they had to move farther down for safety.  Ok, we all seem to understand that you gotta be safe... but the question is, why didn't you come back for your dog?  Why didn't you alert anyone?  Put flyers at the trailhead?  Post something on 14ers.com (ok, seems like he was not a member up until this morning) but craigslist?  ANYWHERE.  Common sense: you lose your dog, you ask for help. Well, apparently he was too tired and had blisters on his feet. So, he gave up on her. Just like that.

The 14ers community is hesitant to give the dog back.  Their thoughts are: you gave up your dog, you thought she was dead, so maybe someone who actually cared should keep the dog.  Someone that would actually do ANYTHING for the dog (like the 6 or 8 strangers that went out there to rescue her).  I have my very own opinions and while I've drafted a few replies on the original thread (now with well over 400 replies), have not gotten myself to click the "post" button.  I judge the owner, yes.  I would do ANYTHING for Levi and if I have to hike down to safety during a storm, I'd come straight back up to get him afterwards. If I can't, I'd sleep in my car and wait for next day hikers to help me and I pray that a blister (as big as can be) will NEVER stop me from saving my best friend.

I'm glad the pup, Missy, is safe.  She apparently is at the vet healing and hydrating.  I can't imagine what she went through over 7-8 days with no water, food or shelter.  Waiting for her best friend to come rescue her and he never came, he didn't even try. I wish the owner has closure knowing the dog is ok and under a responsible dog owner's care.  I'm sure he will now think twice when getting another dog OR taking a dog up a mountain.

Rescue team with Missy back at the trailhead.  I don't know these people, but in my eyes, they are true heroes!  (Photo posted on 14ers.com)
As for us, we also pray we never find ourselves in that situation, but if we do, I promise to myself, my man and my pup that I will do anything in my power to save him.  I love him more than anything and could not bare the thought of losing him "just like that" without even trying.  Sad story, with a happy ending.


1 comment:

  1. Just catching up on blogs, Gaby! Thank goodness this story has a happy ending...I cannot believe how anyone can be so heartless to endanger a dog like that?! That's just horrific. Any news on where Missy's going to live now? Dogs just make life, and everyone in it, better. : ) -Wendy