A US hiker who went missing in August was found dead last month on a rugged peak in the Rocky Mountains, Colorado, — but his jack russell terrier miraculously survived, and stayed perched next to his deceased owner’s body for months.
Rich Moore, 71, of Pagosa Spring, Colorado, had been hiking up the 12,500-foot mountain on August 19, but never returned home, according to Fox News.
Search-and-rescue crews dropped in by helicopter and combed through the forests just below the peak, then moved toward the trailhead, where they found his car, the outlet reported.
But they couldn’t find the man — even though they spent more than 2,000 hours searching for him, reports said.
That was until about two weeks ago, on October 30, when a hunter stumbled across Mr Moore’s corpse more than two miles east of the summit — along with his jack russell terrier, Finny, the New York Postreports.
Somehow, Finny had survived for more than two months in the wilderness — and didn’t leave his owner’s side.
Dozens took to social media to express their condolences to Mr Moore’s family and to laud Finny as a “hero.”
“So sad, and yet so beautiful that the little jack russell stayed with him for all these weeks … Sometimes tragedies remind us of the bond between man and his best friend,” one person wrote on Facebook.
“So sorry this man died but I am glad that his dog was there by his side all the time. And I am glad that the dog did survive. Humans do not deserve dogs. This loyal companion stayed with his best friend until they took him and his best friend away,” wrote another.
Many pointed out how shocking it was that the jack russell survived — likely relying on ill-practised hunting instincts to capture small prey — in an effort to stay by Moore’s side.
“There is no love like the unconditional love of dogs. Such faithfulness,” one person said.
According to Chaffee County Search and Rescue North, Moore was unprepared when he made it to the summit of a 13,000-foot peak in the area of Cottonwood Lake, near Buena Vista.
Moore was wearing only a cotton hooded sweatshirt, with no water or food left. Investigators haven’t figured out how the man died, but they don’t suspect any foul play, People reported. Moore’s remains were brought off the mountain on Halloween.
The terrain where Moore was found was so steep that rescuers — including a certified K9 — were inserted onto the mountaintop by helicopter.
Finny was brought to the vet, and then reunited with his family.
Moore’s family, for their part, was “glad they were able to gain some closure, as well as bring their dog back home,” the Taos Search and Rescue team said on Facebook.
This article originally appeared in the New York Post and has been reproduced with permission.
Originally published as Loyal dog found alive beside body of hiker two months after he went missing