‘Miracle dog’ returned to family after staying with owner who died hiking

A faithful dog who survived after spending more than 10 weeks by her owner when he died on a mountain hike is safely back with the rest of her human loved ones – and back on the trails – the family has said.

Rich Moore, 71, of Pagosa Springs, Colorado, died of hypothermia while hiking in the San Juan mountains in the south of the state in August.

The body of the aging hiker had been missing ever since, until it was discovered by a hunter on 30 October who was surprised also to find that the man’s little dog was not only with her master but was still alive.

The jack russell, Finney, was reportedly very protective of Moore’s body. She had lost about half her body weight and her ribs were visible, officials have said.

Moore and Finney set out to climb Blackhead Peak on 19 August, a rugged mountain east of Pagosa Springs, but didn’t return home. A days-long search between the peak and his vehicle was unsuccessful.

Now, “Finney is doing well,” Moore’s wife, Dana Holby, told the Associated Press on Thursday. “She has gained almost all of her weight back and her strength is almost where it was. She is the miracle dog.”

She does have an injury on her snout that might leave a scar, Holby said.

“She is now three, very clingy and will not let me out of her sight,” Holby said. “Her ravenous appetite has calmed down, but at first she could not get enough to eat and wanted food at all times of the day and night.”

Finney’s survival story has made her famous on the hiking trails around Pagosa Springs, Holby said.

“People say, ‘Is that Finney?’” to which Holby responds with an enthusiastic “Yes!”

“She is such a comfort to me and a great companion on hikes,” covering four to five miles a day, Holby said.

“I know that she was with Rich to the very end and somehow that should be a comfort. I don’t know how she did it, but she was there when he needed her,” Holby said.


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