Loyal dog guarded dead owner's body for nearly three months until rescuers found them
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Featured Image Credit: Family Handout
In a tearjerking tale of love and loyalty, a dog stayed by her dead's owners side for almost three months until they were found by rescuers.
On 19 August, 2023, Rich Moore set off on a hike in the Colorado mountains with his 14-year-old Jack Russell terrier, Finney.
The 71-year-old, who lived in nearby Pagosa Springs, was planning to climb to the 12,500 feet (3810 metre) summit of Blackhead Peak. But he never returned from his hike.
Search and rescue teams spent more than 2,000 hours searching for Moore and Finney, but were unsuccessful in trying to locate the pair.
Sadly, on 30 October, Moore's body was found by a hunter in the Lower Blanco drainage basin — and by a miracle, Finney was found alive by her owner's side, more than two months after the pair went missing.
Moore, an experienced hiker, died of hypothermia, Archuleta County Coroner Brad Hunt said.
When rescuers came to retrieve Moore's body the following day, they coaxed the loyal pup away from his remains with a can of dog food.
Finney weighed just six pounds (2.7kg) and was incredibly underweight, with rescuers saying her purple collar was drooping off her neck.
Rescuers say that she was starving to the point that she gripped onto the can of food with her teeth, refusing to let go and savouring every bite.
She likely survived off insects, small rodents and water from a nearby spring while she fended for herself in the Colorado mountains.
After receiving a full checkover by a local vet, the 14-year-old terrier was reunited with Moore's family.
Dana Holby, Moore's wife of 24 years, spoke about the moment her husband's body was found.
In an interview with The Denver Gazette, she said: "I'm just grateful that she was with him. Rich did not want to get old. He wanted to climb mountains until he couldn't, so here we are."
Holby said that she had often warned her husband to not hike in Blackhead Peak alone.
Now, she lays her late husband's clothes all over the house so that Finney can smell him and lets the pup nuzzle her snout on her pillow at night.
The two of them, who have 'saved each other from sorrow,' now go everywhere together.
Members of the public who heard about the bittersweet story have lauded the hero pup online.
One person wrote on Facebook, "Amazing that the dog stayed with him. They are truly man's best friend."
And another commented that while it was 'sad' Rich lost his life in the mountains, they were 'grateful he didn't die alone.'