Hero Hikers Rescue Senior Dog Stuck on Mountain for Weeks

When a 14-year-old dog named Chloe ran away with another younger dog over six weeks ago, Larry Osborne and his family spent weeks searching all over the mountain town of Alma, Colo. for her. The younger dog came back, but Chloe seemed to have disappeared. Her family thought they would never see her again.

“I was not optimistic at all,” Osborne told CBS4.

But on Sept. 21, a hiker who was about a thousand feet below the summit of 14,177-foot-high Mt. Bross/Lincoln could hear a dog crying above her.

“The dog may have fallen off above a crevasse and become injured or trapped. It sounded in pain,” user lydiamreynolds wrote in a forum on the 14ers.com website. The term “14ers” refers to hikers who like to climb mountains with elevations of 14,000 feet or higher.

The hiker was too exhausted to climb up and locate the dog, so she called 911. “I wish someone could go up there and rescue it,” she wrote. Most of the responses to her plea figured the dog was actually a coyote, since no one had reported losing a pet on or near the mountain.

But when Trinity Smith read about the crying dog on the 14ers Facebook page, she decided to take action. “I had no sleep the past two nights, because all I could think about was a poor dog stuck in harsh conditions, at 14,000 feet,” she told CBS4.

Smith drove almost 20 miles from her home to the mountain and climbed it alone. By the end of the day she could hear, but not reach, the dog.

But Smith wasn’t about to give up. She returned the next day with her boyfriend, Sean Nichols, and climbed the mountain again. They spent four hours calling to the dog as they tried to find her.

“For three hours, I climbed up every chute, trying to keep myself from creating massive rock slides, calling for the dog,” Nichols told The Dodo, “and right as we were about to head back the dog finally gave a faint bark, giving away her location.”

The dog was stuck on the edge of a ledge in steep terrain. Nichols was able to grab her, and he and Smith carried her down the mountain.

“We got her!!!!” Smith wrote on the 14ers Facebook page Sept. 22. “After hours and hours of yelling and climbing, Sean Nichols & I finally brought this sweet, scared, hungry girl down to safety.”

Chloe’s owners met Smith and Nichols at a store in town, where they were tearfully reunited with their long-lost dog.

Chloe, who normally weighs 90 pounds, had dropped to just 26 pounds. She was checked out by a veterinarian and has already gained back 10 pounds, according to Smith.

“She’s a fighter and an inspiration to all!” Smith wrote of Chloe on her Facebook page. The same is true of the two heroes who saved her life.

“It’s really good to know that with all the bad in the world, there’s still a lot of good,” Chloe’s relieved owner said. “So I thank those guys a lot.”

14ERS SAVED ANOTHER STRANDED DOG IN 2012

This wasn’t the first time 14ers saved the life of a dog stranded in the Colorado mountains. In August 2012, as Anthony Ortolani hiked with his German Shepherd, Missy, on rugged terrain near Mt. Bierstadt, the dog’s paws became so badly blistered that she could no longer walk.

Ortolani carried Missy for a while, but as a storm approached, he left her on a ridge at an elevation of about 13,000 feet. He said he contacted the sheriff’s department, but was told the storm was too severe to send a rescue party. Nearly a week passed, yet Ortolani never returned to retrieve his poor dog.

Fortunately, two hikers came across Missy. They bandaged her paws and gave her water. But they were unable to carry her down the mountain themselves, so they left her behind, posting her photo and a call for help on the 14ers.com website.

It didn’t take long at all for some heroes to step up, literally. That same night, some 14ers climbed the mountain but couldn’t find Missy. The next day, seven 14ers persevered through a heavy snowstorm and located the dog. They put her in a backpack and took turns carrying her down the mountain.

As for Ortolani, he was charged with animal cruelty. And as for Missy, she’s now enjoying life with one of the hero 14ers who rescued her.

Photo credit: Paul Schadler

133 comments

Lenore K
Lenore K2 months ago

ok

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Melanie St. Germaine
Melanie S2 months ago

Thank you for rescuing this Angel

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Carl R
Carl R2 months ago

Thanks!!!

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Carole R
Carole R2 months ago

Very good news. Heroes, for sure.

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Mark H
Mark H2 months ago

How wonderful a story. Ty.

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Susan H
Susan H2 months ago

HEROES xxxxxx

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joan s
joan silaco2 months ago

why do people risk other people's lives as well as their own dog because they just have to bring their dog with them? do everybody a favor and leave your dog home! who know, you my need help too besides your dog. who's going to make Sophie's choice?

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Barbara Wilhite
Barbara Wilhite2 months ago

A huge & heartfelt thank you to everyone involved in the rescue of Chloe.

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Joan E
Joan E2 months ago

Thank you to all who helped.

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Trish K
Trish K2 months ago

Thank you 14 er's for making Chloe, her parents and all the rest of us happy.
Happy Trails to You

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