The body of a man who went missing in August after going for a hike in the Colorado mountains with his Jack Russell terrier was found in late October with his dog holding vigil at his side, CNN reported.
Rich Moore, 71, and his dog Finney planned to hike to the summit of Blackhead Peak in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains on August 19 only to disappear for ten weeks.
His body was found by a hunter on October 30 about two and a half miles east of the peak with Finney beside him, very skinny but very much alive, according to Taos Search and Rescue.
Despite being very thin, Finney appeared to be in fairly good condition when he was found, Taos Search and Rescue’s Delina Vanne-Brightyn told CNN. She said Finney’s loyalty brought the group to tears.
According to the Archuleta County Coroner, Moore’s cause of death was hypothermia from exposure. The coroner said it would not be possible to determine how long Moore was dead.
Search and rescue crews had launched multiple searches for Moore since he was reported missing. Given the terrain and the steepness of the slope, search crews had to be flown to the peak by helicopter.
The searchers started at the mountain’s peak and worked their way westward toward the parking lot where Moore left his vehicle, according to Vanne-Brightyn. She added that Moore being discovered on the eastern slope of the peak “defied all of our lost person behavior.”
When asked how Moore’s Jack Russell managed to survive ten weeks alone on the mountain, Vanne-Brightyn told CNN that he probably fed on small animals like chipmunks and mice and drank from the nearby underground streams.
Finney was taken into custody by the animal control division of the Archuleta County Sheriff’s office and subsequently returned to his other owners.