While there are many small things that bring warmth to the heart and a tear of emotion to the eye, there are few things as heartwarming as a loyal dog’s devotion to its owner. Whether a service dog’s loyalty to his veteran owner or the hunting dog of Odysseus looking up for one last, sweet look when Odysseus finally returns home to Ithaca, there’s a reason dogs are called man’s best friend. Such could be seen again when an extremely loyal Jack Russell terrier was found next to the body of his owner after ten long weeks alone in the wild.
As background, that Jack Russell terrier is named Finney. Finney was owned by Rich Moore, a hiker from Pagosa Springs, Colorado, who went missing while on a hike up a mountain in his area called Blackhead Peak. Moore was finally found, dead, by a hunter in the area ten long weeks after he went missing.
But Moore wasn’t alone when he died of what the coroner says was hypothermia. Alongside him when the hunter found his corpse was Finney, the loyal Jack Russell terrier. Finney had lost six pounds over the long months in the wild but was loyal not until unto death, but well beyond it.
Such is what Taos Search and Rescue announced on Facebook when Moore was found, saying, “On October 30th, the body of missing hiker 71-year-old Rich Moore of Pagosa Springs has been found, along with his dog, who was found alive and with his body. Moore and his dog had been missing since August 19, disappearing after leaving with a plan to summit Blackhead Peak, which is located just east of Pagosa Springs.”
A dog trainer and member of the Taos Search and Rescue Team that looked for Moore, Delinda Vanne-Brightyn, commented on Finney’s survival to CBS News. Speaking to that outlet, she said that Finney’s “magnificent story of survival” is a testament to her dedication and loyalty to Moore.
Continuing, she added that “Jack Russells are pretty fierce, I have to say, they’re tough little dogs.” Finney would have had to be such a tough little dog to make it, she added, as not only did he need to survive by hunting small wildlife like mice, but also needed to avoid the many predators in the region, such as mountain lions, coyotes and bears.
She then added that Finney would probably have some wild stories about surviving on the mountain, alone except for the corpse of Moore, telling CBS News, “If that dog could talk it would be an amazing story. We probably could not even believe the story the dog would tell.”
But, perhaps best of all, is that Finney was well enough to survive the ordeal and be reunited with the family, as she also told CBS: “We are very glad … that Finney was returned to the family because they have lost their loved one, but they still have this wonderful, loyal dog.”
Featured image credit: stock photo of a Jack Russell terrier Original uploader was PBurns3711 at en.wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7000734
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