Loyal Dog Who Spent 10 Weeks Guarding Fallen Hiker’s Body Is Reunited With Family

Loyal Dog Who Spent 10 Weeks Guarding Fallen Hiker’s Body Is Reunited With Family
(Background: Brandt Bolding/Shutterstock; Insets: Dana Holby via AP, Courtesy of Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control)
11/27/2023
Updated:
11/28/2023
0:00

A Jack Russell terrier who stayed with the body of her owner for 10 weeks after the elderly man died while hiking has been found, rescued, and reunited with her family.

Three-year-old terrier, Finney, was found next to the body of her owner, 71-year-old Richard Moore of Pagosa Springs, Colorado, on Oct. 30, after an intensive 2,100-hour manhunt by Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control (CDFPC), Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office, and local search and rescue.

The pair had been missing since Aug. 19. Mr. Moore, an experienced hiker, had planned to reach the summit of Blackhead Peak, to the east of his hometown.

Finney being rescued. (Courtesy of Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control).
Finney being rescued. (Courtesy of Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control).
The rescue team. (Courtesy of Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control).
The rescue team. (Courtesy of Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control).
“A local hunter found Moore’s body and his dog in the Lower Blanco drainage basin,” CDFPC said in a social media statement, adding that Finney was found “skinny but alive.”

Search and rescue, accompanied by sheriff’s deputies, were dispatched to the area by helicopter and hiked a mile to the basin to bring Mr. Moore’s body and Finney home.

Finney was transported to a local vet for treatment before being reunited with her family.

Finney shortly after returning from the mountains on Oct. 31, 2023. Finney survived, losing half her body weight, after spending more than 10 weeks by the side of her owner, Rich Moore, who died of hypothermia while hiking in the Colorado mountains. (Dana Holby via AP)
Finney shortly after returning from the mountains on Oct. 31, 2023. Finney survived, losing half her body weight, after spending more than 10 weeks by the side of her owner, Rich Moore, who died of hypothermia while hiking in the Colorado mountains. (Dana Holby via AP)
The Denver Gazette reported that Mr. Moore passed away from hypothermia.

Finney, who stood vigil for 72 days, bared her teeth and barked at the hunter who found them. The search and rescue team was able to lure her with a can of wet dog food, and the starving pup “picked it up with her teeth,” said the sheriff’s emergency management commander, Ryan Foster, according to Denver Gazette.

“The day they found him there was a wildland fire, and then a call came in. A hunter messaged his son in town that he had found a body and a dog,” the commander said.

Sheriff Mike Le Roux, who broke the news of Mr. Moore’s recovery to his wife of 34 years, Dana Holby, said, “It really was a needle in a haystack ... they were found at the end of nowhere,” adding that, amid the tragedy of Mr. Moore’s passing, bringing Finney home was “a little light at the end of the tunnel.”

Ms. Holby 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.”

Finney, safe at home. (Dana Holby via AP)
Finney, safe at home. (Dana Holby via AP)
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