I have been following with great interest the saga of Missy, the German Shepherd dog left for dead in the Colorado mountains, rescued by a team of climbers who only knew her from a photo posted in their discussion forum, and then reclaimed by her owner.
The 14ers.com forum thread is here – now locked but still available for reading. I am guessing that because of the huge interest in this thread the site administration will soon be restricting new membership registrations. They may even have to make the forum private for a while.
This thread is wonderful. It is like a microcosm of the world in general (sceptics, wise ones, wisecracks, diplomacy, anger, gratitude, happiness and so on) and very typical of forum life.
The thread was started by Scott Washburn under the username ‘wash’ and the first post on this epic thread was at 19.57 on 11 August 2012:
My wife and I were doing Bierstadt/Evans today via Sawtooth. We found a female german shepherd that was injured and appears to have been there for several days. We gave her food and water but were unable to get her out. Her paws are pretty damaged and she refused to walk (unfortunately she is too big to carry and wasn’t cooperative).If you are missing her we’ve attached a photo showing her location. If you need assistance in locating her you can contact me
He posted this photo
20 minutes later another hiker posted: night hike it is
and then the miracle happens
- I hate hearing news like this. Anyone have a litter carry?
- My wife and I will help.
- I’d be up for joining a team to haul her out.
- I’m in as well
- Count me in
- I will go call me if you need another person
- muzzle is packed
First search is launched with a crew going up the mountain at 11.30pm that same night
- I was with the crew that went up last night. Just got home. No luck locating the dog. Good luck to those of you going up this morning.
- Hi everyone, I’m one of the guys that went up last night in hopes of finding the dog. First, being a dog owner, this hit home and I immediately called Scott, the original poster. He explained that he had talked to a vet and that the vet was concerned if the dog is in the described shape, that she might not survive the night up there. Scott was not making this up, he was set to join us last night but thought he would wait till light. My buddy and myself have done bierstadt and sawtooth a few times, so we went up to help and met two others that were eager to help as well. There were about 30 people on the mountain last night for the meteor shower. We left the trailhead at 1130 and were searching the summit a little over 2 hours later. We had hoped our lights would pick up her eyes or she would answer our calls,whistles, etc. There was no wind in thr area that she was last seen and it was completely silent. We heard nothing. After almost 2 hours, we headed back down. Hopefully other folks searching in daylight will have better luck. Doing this at night was risky yes, but sometimes you just have to HTFU and do what you think is right.
Followed by sceptism
- how do we know this actually happened
- this is a sick hoax
- is this a hoax?
And then a post by the OP (original poster) Scott Washburn
Hello everyone, My name is Scott Washburn and I am the original poster of this report. I apologize for not posting something sooner but I had only been watching the trip report that I posted and not this lost-and-found thread.
Let me first say that this is not a hoax and I’m sorry for some of the confusion that has occurred. We are trying to coordinate some help for this dog but we want to make sure that it is done safely and that no one is hurt trying to evacuate the dog. I would guess that she weighs approximately 80 lbs and we found her in some very difficult terrain so a rescue will be no small feat.
I haven’t had a chance to read through all of these comments but the photo of the dog is one that my wife and I took yesterday. We cropped it to just show the dog but the “pant leg” is mine. We had applied the bandages shown in the photo hoping that we could get the dog to walk out under her own power since we were unable to carry her but unfortunately that didn’t work either. Our assessment that she had been out there for a day or more is simply my best guess based on the condition we found her in. She was extremely dehydrated and there was some blood from her paws that look like it had been dried for more than just the morning. I live in Colorado but still retain my cell phone number from California. Please feel free to call if you have any questions (). The dog does have a collar with a rabies tag but no additional information such as her name. There was a number on the rabies tag but I honestly thought that we’d be back shortly with Park Services so I didn’t write it down (a mistake in hindsight). I have no idea how the dog got there or where her owner is.
Here is the current status: a group of volunteers went out looking for her last night and were unable to find her. They were looking in the dark and unfortunately the dog is almost all black and probably very difficult to spot. She wasn’t making any noises when we found her either which again makes it more difficult. We had left her on an open rock (shown in the photo) where we thought it would be easy to spot her but she may have crawled into a crevice for shelter. We were considering heading back out at first light but decided to wait because we didn’t have the manpower to pull her out even if we were able to find her.
I also spoke to a veterinarian who was kind enough to call and offer his opinion, which was unfortunately not good. He thought that based on her condition she may have suffered internal injuries or be suffering from shock (her unwillingness to move combined with other factors). I had suggested the idea of sedating her to get her out but he said this was a bad idea and could potentially kill her if she had in fact suffered from shock or internal injuries. He said the most we should give her is Benadryl.
My thoughts for moving forward are as follows.
-If any one is going to be up there they could try and bring the dog water and food. She is heavy and on difficult terrain and if she can have some time to heal she may be able to get out under her own power.
-I am trying to see about another effort to go and bring her out. There are several complicating factors: the dog is heavy (~80lbs), she is uncooperative and I have been told not to sedate her, and the terrain is very difficult. This all combines to putting anyone involved in rescuing her at risk. I love dogs but I do not want anyone to risk injuring themselves.
-In order for a rescue to work we need a minimum of 6 (my estimate) very strong and fit people who can carry an 80lbs pack over Class 3 terrain. We also need a large, stabilized backpack big enough to hold the dog.
-As far as a rescue for today, it is getting late and thunderstorms are forecast for the afternoon. Again, I do not want to put anyone at risk by doing this so a rescue effort will likely have to be delayed until tomorrow morning.
Please feel free to contact me at <edited> with any questions, concerns, or advice. I live in Denver and I’m trying to do the best I can but I’m also trying to weigh the life of this dog (who I would love to save, don’t get me wrong) against the safety of anyone trying to get her.
Then come several apologies from everyone who doubted him followed by help of support.
- me and my friend will be there
- I will be at Bierstadt to help out tomorrow
and an update from the man who spent the whole of Sunday looking for her
I just got back from wandering around up there a bit today, so wanted to pass along my info in case any of it is helpful. I also have only scanned the latest comments, so apologies for any redundancies, etc.
First off, Scott, thanks a ton for posting. I was only able to get cell reception at the summit today, and as I started down from the summit the forum discussion was convinced it was a hoax. It probably goes without saying that this led to some dark thoughts on the way out, so I was very glad to see the update when I got home. Thanks for all of your efforts on the dog’s behalf.
And thanks to those of you who went up on the spur of the moment last night. Although I know we can debate the pros and cons of a nighttime search (just as we can debate the wisdom of my solo hike today), it’s clear that the sentiment behind your incredible efforts was pure gold.
Here’s the detailed summary of what I did. Sorry about the length – feel free to skip to my take-home thoughts at the end. I just wanted to include the details in case any of it is useful info to inform tomorrow’s plan.
I left the car about 5:30 this morning (just getting light enough so that you could probably skip the headlamp, although I could still see several lights in use high on the mountain). I got to the top about 7, and there were maybe 10 people there already (Scott’s plan mentioned the estimated time to the summit, so I should probably say that I’m about 6’4” with long legs, so this may not be the best estimate for the speed of a larger group). I didn’t stop at the summit (in hindsight I should definitely have stopped to ask if any of them had seen her, but was anxious to start down to where she had been seen – sorry about that oversight on my part).
From 7ish until about 8:30 I slowly worked my way slowly down to the general spot circled in Scott’s picture, then when I didn’t see anything I worked my way back up to the Sawtooth saddle. 4-5 groups went by doing the Sawtooth from Bierstadt, and one group went by going the other way. This time I did remember to ask all groups within shouting distance about the dog. None of them had seen any sign of her, but promised to post something if they did later. I stopped every minute or so and called and whistled (but I’m a crappy whistler, so she might not have heard even if still there). In addition to the area circled in the pic, I tried to scan from ridgeline down to Abyss Lake just in case she moved during the night. Unfortunately I also saw no sign of her anywhere.
By about 8:30 I started to wonder if she might have moved during the night. I also worried about the possibility that she scrawled into a crevice/cave for shelter, which would probably make her just about impossible to see even in the daylight. On the other hand, I also thought she might have somehow been rejuvenated (or just got sufficiently motivated by thirst, etc.) to move down toward the nearest obvious source of water in Abyss Lake. So, I went down to Abyss Lake along the general path of least resistance, went along the shoreline around the north side (I think it’s north – the left side as you look at the lake while descending), then followed the Abyss Lake trail 2-3 miles down the drainage below the lake.
My original plan was to follow the Abyss Lake trail all the way back around to the trailhead just in case she smelled people and headed down the trail. However, I unfortunately managed to completely lose the trail in the willow thickets down near the bottom of the south ridge. I bushwhacked a bit, but was worried that I would be swallowed by the willow-monster and never heard from again, so reversed direction and climbed back over Bierstadt to descend the standard route, arriving back at my car about 1:30 this afternoon. I tried to scan the area below the sawtooth as much as possible on the way back up, but have to admit that I was pretty wasted by that point. There were a ton of people on the summit, but my sense was that very few had come across the sawtooth, so I didn’t ask most of them about the dog.
From all that, I guess these are my main take-home thoughts:
1) It was pretty warm at 5:30 AM, suggesting that the low temp overnight may have been survivable.
2) There were a ton of people up there today – I’m betting 300+ that I encountered, and I’m sure many more during the time that I went down the drainage. Most of them obviously don’t do the Sawtooth, but it does seem plausible that a number of groups passed through the general area where she was left, and there was no clear evidence that she had been seen today. And while I didn’t talk to very many groups on my way back up, I did keep an eye out for any groups that might have been gathered around her, and didn’t see anything obvious.
3) It’s a very big, convoluted place, and it’s easy to imagine completely missing a dog lying still fairly close by. Having said that, I pretty carefully scanned all of the open flat rocks (like the one in the picture) between the Sawtooth saddle and about 500’ below the saddle, and my gut feeling is that she is no longer in the same place where you left her on Saturday. If I had to bet, it seems like it might be worth looking more specifically in caves/crevices close to where you left her since you can pinpoint the location (although probably not a good outcome if you find her there), or potentially trying to at least scan the broader drainage or elsewhere on the trail (maybe a happier outcome).
4) I truly hope that I never again manage to have to climb the same 14er twice in a day…
I hope at least some of this helps. Good luck to all of you tomorrow!
This was followed by an update that caused chills and a sick feeling for me too:
- I am a bit more than sick at this. I passed two idiots with that dog as I did the Sawtooth LAST SUNDAY 8/5! Pup was already struggling then and I was rather hacked off. What can you do?I really hope that I’m missing something in the web forum timing here because if not, that poor pup has been up there for seven days!
- I am 95% sure it is the same dog. I was only about 5-10 feet away from it when I passed the two guys with it, and the pup was panting miserably and wasn’t having a good time. It had a red (I think) harness on, which the guys were using to haul it down the mountain. It was apparent that they were hopeless. After I passed them, I moved on down – near the “bottom” of the climb – and they were trying to follow me. I tried to point them in more “dog-friendly” routes, but it quickly became apparent that there was nothing dog-friendly about that climb. I lost track of them and later overheard someone say “I think I’m (we are) going to bail”. Don’t know who it was exactly, but I was really hoping it was those two with the dog…
So at this point everyone became aware that the dog had probably been there for over a week.
Then comes some mild bickering about why animals are more important than people…
After this some updates trickle in
- My husband is up there with the search party. I’ve tried to call him a couple times without success – I assume there’s no cell reception. So no update yet.
- Just got a call from Park County Sheriff’s office dispatcher and they just talked to Clear Creek animal control, they told them they are sending up a SAR team to get the dog, apparently they have cell contact with someone that has the dog but needs help getting him down.
- I just saw a post on Facebook from Scott’s wife. They have definitely found the pup and are trying to get it and themselves down safely.
- Just got off the phone with Scott, the dog and the whole search party are down safe and sound! He has the pup and is having a vet check her out tonight. We will keep you updated once we find out the sitaution with the owner.
- Just to confirm the good news. We were a party of about eight people who met at 5:00 A.M. this morning. The dog was in almost the exact location that Scott and his wife saw her in on Sat. Most of the crew is probably still at Tommy Knockers having a beer so raise a glass to celebrate the good news and an awesome effort by all involved, particularly Alex and Chase who did a fantastic job of carrying the big girl most of the way back up Bierstadt, those boys have some legs on them! I will let others fill in the details but the girl is in good spirits and safe.
- we took turns carrying her in a backpack from the low point on the sawtooth over bierstadt, and down to id guess about 12500 feet. she started squirming in the pack so we let her out and she walked like a champ the rest of the way. she also ate and drank, and went to the bathroom. considering what she had been through, she was in remarkably good health/spirits. hopefully nothing that some love in the form of lots of food and a couch cant fix. i cant even begin to say how glad i am that this was the outcome, and how glad i was to be a part of it. to think that such a gentle, sweet dog was abandoned and left to die in the mountains breaks my heart.
Then the large sting in the tail
I am the owner of the German Shepard girl found on Mt. Bierstadt.
I need to know the name of the vet clinic that Missy is at so I can go see her and re-reimburse them for helping her, and if I am fortunate enough, to bring her home.
I am at a complete loss of words. My gratitude for the people involved in this is without measure.
Missy was hurt during an attempt at crossing the Sawtooth. It was Missy, a friend and I. Her paws got bloodied up right in the belly of the sawtooth. I was assisting her with the climb using ropes and a harness for a while but she kept getting hurt worse. A few kind hikers stopped and offered some assistance but incoming weather pushed people off of the saddle. My friend and I realized that we could not get Missy up the saddle to Evans or Bierstadt safely so we decided to bail off of the saddle into the valley between the two mountains to escape the incoming clouds. We were lowering her for a while with ropes from boulder to boulder but she was hurting herself worse against the rocks sprawling out and catching them with her legs. Eventually she just stopped standing or moving at all and I knew she was pretty badly hurt. I picked her up on my shoulders and was hopping from boulder to boulder but I couldn’t keep her on me. I dropped her once and I almost fell once too and I realized that I couldn’t carry her off of the mountain. At this point I made the decision that I honestly never thought I would even be faced with. I left her there so that my friend and I could get down safely with intentions of calling S&R when we were off of the mountian. We both spent about two hours trying to move her up and down the mountain and were pretty exhausted. Neither one of us wanted to hike up the saddle with the cloud cover growing so we continued down into the valley and hiked back to Guanella Pass Rd. It was a lot farther than we thought it would be, and we got lost several times. A group of hunters showed us the way out and gave us a ride back to our car. Thank you to them as well.
I called the 911, the sheriffs office and search and rescue and I was told that it was to risky for them to send rescue crew up there for a dog, which was upsetting but understandable. I’ll admit that while trying to get off of the the mountain I was not as concerned because I was focused on making it safely off of the mountain, but once I was safely at my car I was overwhelmed with the loss, and the decision to leave her there. The next couple of days was absolutely horrible wondering about her, if she was alive, or if she died. Thinking about her suffering was awful beyond words. Many confidants comforted me by saying that she was probably gone from injury. All I can say is that I am relieved that she is okay, I am ashamed that it was not me that started this thread, I am ashamed that it wasn’t me who got her off of the mountain, I underestimated the good will and resolve of the hiking community of Colorado, and I am eternally grateful to all of you and to 9news. I humbly beg the forgiveness of the community and most of all my Missy Girl. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. I can’t wait to hike with her again, but I will never put her in danger again.
Some of the replies
- aortolani14, I wish I could show more character or reserve or dignity or compassion or whatever it is that should be showed at a moment like this, but I just can’t. All I can say is, you left Missy on that mountain, and now she deserves to live with someone who cared enough to rescue her. 7 days she laid there bleeding, hurt, alone, tired, hungry and thirsty.Her old life ended when the people she counted on the most left her, and her new life begins with one of the rescuers, or anyone who won’t abandon her, for that matter.I’m glad you get some closure in knowing she’s alive and healthy.I will say it took a healthy amount of guts to come out at all. It’s going to get much uglier on here before it gets better.The amount of restraint it takes to not say more is epic.
- so you leave the dog for 8 days, dont do anything, dont try to go back with friends to get her, nada. just leave her there to die a slow, miserable death. seems reasonable.now you want the dog back…after all the effort we went through to get the dog off the mountain, i dont think i can support giving her back to you. sorry, but i would hate to see this dog go back to someone who so callously left her on the side of the mountain and then did NOTHING for over a week.i could forgive you leaving the dog bc of weather or inability to move her, but why didnt you go back with your friends? why did you do nothing? just abandoning her is unforgivable
- yeah it really sounds like he exhausted all his options.his feet were so blistered for 8 days he couldnt go look? give me a break. no posters, no signs at the trailhead? i guess guanella pass is over 40 miles from denver and driving with blisters is just too painful. printing signs would have been too much work, not too mention the cost of ink. even posting on 14ers was too much work.now he wants to swoop in and take his dog back, after doing precisely nothing to get her off the mountain. he should know that yesterday would have been his dogs last day on this earth, she wouldnt have survived the snow wind and cold yesterday.
- the fact this dude left his dog to die while making zero effort to save her tells me everything i need to know about him.
- I know where your dog is at. On Sawtooth pass between Mt. Bierstadt and Mt. Evans. Why don’t you go up there for 8 days with 3 litres of water and no food than get back with us. But don’t tell anyone cause that would spoil the whole adventure. Wouldn’t want anyone to knowingly go looking for you.
- have to disagree with you completely that this was not abandonment, it was in every sense of the way. Yes, it was a bad decision to leave, yes, maybe you felt you had to, but come on, you and Kristen keep forgetting to mention that you NEVER went back up to get her/check on her/leave her food & water/send someone to get her/ask for your friends to help get her, etc. In my opinion, THAT is abandonment plain and simple. You had a responsibility to that animal and you failed in a huge way. She is a dog, she can’t fend for herself up there. Did you think about your dog starving, dehydrated, bleeding, sleeping on the side of the mountain? It must not have made you lose any sleep at night or else you would have done something about it. You can beg and plead and get people on here to say that you are such a great dog owner to Missy but that doesn’t change the fact that your dog was hurt and you left her to die. That, my friend, is called animal cruelty and if you don’t get that, then you shouldn’t own a dog no matter how much you claim to love her. Enough about the rough terrain, enough about that it was a bad decision to bring her up there, the people on this forum can’t get over the fact that you went home to sleep in your cozy house while your companion, the dog you call “Missy Girl”, starves to death on the side of a mountain. Shame on you and shame on your friends for coming on here (when they knew your dog was stranded and still did nothing about it) and saying how much you loved your dog. Anyone who truly cared for their pet would make an effort to retrieve it, it is as simple as that.
The comments continued like that for a while, made more heated by the intervention of Anthony’s friend, boss, other friend and his sister, who made probably the worst comment of all when she wrote
This is Anthony’s sister. I have known him his entire life. He has never blown anything off, given up, found that he couldn’t be bothered. I am standing up for him right now as the person who knows him better than anyone else who has posted on this RIDICULOUS thread. GIVE HI DOG BACK TO HIM. I have read about this situation being a ‘hoax’, about how judgement has been passed, even before knowing the circumstances, about people who think they are better or would have ‘done the right thing’ and people who just want to FIX a horrible situation. The latter is the only thing that matters!!! Tony has had that dog for a very long time. He rescued her from a bad situation. She chewed up his house. She peed on his floors. She was a ‘bitch’ to train. But she is a great dog now! And spoiled! So many other people would have passed her on after the first hole in a shoe or ripped up book or pile of poo on the floor. This is an EXTREME situation. People do not always think clearly when they are GRIEF STRICKEN!!! Perhaps you head hunters would be more satisfied if he had KILLED himself over this! If you have doubts about his character or need to hear from his family, YOU CALL ME!!! He is beside himself with guilt and confusion. His heart is both broken and elated. He just wants his baby back. Everyone likes to think that they would make the best decisions when faced with traumatic situations and tragedy, but the TRUTH is that we are ALL HUMAN. We don’t always fail. But we don’t always succeed. WE ALL DESERVE A SECOND CHANCE!!! My phone is ON. I’m waiting to hear from you. 575-308-2019.
- if it wasnt for this ridiculous thread your brothers dog is a corpse high up on mt evans. if it wasnt for this ridiculous thread, me and 7 other people wouldnt have gone up there and lugged her out of there. and, if it wasnt for this ridiculous thread, you people would just be continuing on about your business, without even a thought for the dog’s suffering.”He has never blown anything off, given up, found that he couldn’t be bothered” really? you must have missed the part about he just left the dog up there for 8 days and didnt do a thing.i especially like how you just demand the dog back, without even a thank you to the people who went and got her. stay classless.
- Forgive me if I seem extremely harsh here but I find the claims that Anthony is a responsible dog lover to be dubious. Missy was at 100 pounds yesterday when we carried her off the mountain after losing 10% of her body weight spending eight days laying alone in a talus field ~ 12,500 feet with him taking virtually no action to save, by his own admission he left her there to die. At the time he took her up the Sawtooth Missy was possibly 20 to 30 pounds overweight, experience with over 10 years in Dog Rescue and caring for 100+ dogs tells me Missy should ideally weigh around 80 pounds. Missy’s nails were a bit on the long side and given her highly damaged pads she obviously was not used to walking the given terrain. To me he didn’t have his dog’s health in mind by letting her get fat, didn’t have his dog’s health and well being in mind when he decided to take her on a 3rd class route she obviously wasn’t in condition to do, and finally didn’t have his dog’s welfare in mind when he left her there to die.Talking to Alpine Rescue after we got back one of the members told me of an incident they were involved in at Herman Lake. Alpine Rescue was called to evacuate a St. Bernard from the lake after it had broken it’s spine and the owner refused to leave the area for days to stay with his hurt dog. Staying by your injured dog and giving it what comfort and care you can is responsible ownership.Years ago while mountain biking with one of our dogs I went over the handle bars and shattered my wrist. Despite being in pain one of my first actions was to put my dog an leash so she would be safe on the 6 mile walk back to the car. Keeping your dog’s welfare in mind despite other concerns is responsible ownership.Plenty of responders to this forum have commented on being prepared when hiking with your dog by carrying booties, pain meds, (aspirin), water, and any other needs your animal may have, good advice and responsible dog ownership. We put booties on Missy when we got to her and given that despite still having bleeding pads she was trotting down half the mountain without too much difficulty. Even after eight days starving in an alpine environment all she needed was a little help and care in getting her off the mountain. Had she been carried down to Abyss Lake, given some aspirin and dog booties I believe she could have gotten out via Scott Gomer and Burning Bear rather than being left to die.We actually discussed evacuating Missy via Scott Gomer but discounted believing she was in worse condition that she really was. We took her out of the backpack because she was squirming and wanted her to stretch a little after being cramped for several hours. We were quite pleasantly surprised to see how well she got around on her own. I’ve had plenty of occasions where one of my own dogs got relief from a cut pad with just some pain med and a bootie, I’m fairly certain that eight days ago Missy could have gotten out with just a little bit of care, yet you carried her down a little bit and then left her to die.
The spot we found Missy was several hundred feet below the crossover on the Sawtooth, 1000 ft below the summit of Bierstadt, a spot that wasn’t terribly likely to experience a lighting strike, sure, possible but likely. Having two people one of you could have easily stayed with Missy while the other went for help, sure, burning bear was 8 miles from where you were but a little walk is better than leaving your dog to die alone on a mountain side.
It was mentioned that some hunters gave you directions, did you consider asking them for help in getting Missy down?
Even in the event that I couldn’t carry out one of my own dogs (unlikely because I have always considered being forced to prior to any trip) I would have attempted to enlist family, friends, acquaintances, hired help, whatever it took to get my dog back home. I would never have left my beloved friend and companion to die alone on a cold hillside. That eight total strangers were more willing than you to hike a short 4 miles in crappy weather to rescue a dog we didn’t even know speaks volumes to me about your lack of commitment to care for Missy.
Given that you didn’t take Missy’s welfare in mind before taking her into the mountains, weren’t willing to stay with her during her ordeal, didn’t go back to provide her some comfort or attempt to get her out yourself (blisters, give me a freaking break), and apparently didn’t do much of anything to save your dog prior to yesterday leaves me to say the following: You’ll get Missy back when you pry her out of my cold dead hands!
- The question people need to step back and ask themselves (not that they likely will) is are you against putting Missy back in Anthony’s care because you’re worried that she’ll end up in a bad situation again, or to punish Anthony? One of those is an acceptable reason, the other isn’t. And even for the good reason, your own knowledge of the situation is not complete enough to be able to definitively answer it.
- Chewing and poo are what any dog owner deals with. To even suggest that putting up with that is somehow heroic is crazy. You speak volumes as to his ability to care for his dog.
His blisters were not an extreme situation. Most people consider their pets like family as do I . But I can assure you I would rather die on a mountain than leave my dying family member there.
- Your dog rescue is amazing and deserves media attention. Please call me ASAP 303-830-6325.
Mark Ackerman, News producer at CBS4. meackerman@cbscom
- Then two lovely updates from Scott
- Hello everyone, I’m sorry for the delay in posting this update but it was a long day yesterday and today has been quite the frenzy.As you all have heard and seen, we were able to rescue the dog yesterday. She is apparently named Missy, although I have been calling her Lucky. I took her to a veterinarian last night, who graciously volunteered their services, and she is doing great. She’s been fully checked out and has no fractures, internal injuries, or other permanent damage and all of her lab work came back normal. Her pads are in rough shape and she is severely dehydrated and has been on an IV overnight and throughout today. Her survival and shear will to live are astounding by any measure.As we move forward, Lucky/Missy will remain in veterinary care for the short term. I realize that there is a great deal of emotion surrounding the rescue of this dog and I must admit that myself, my wife, and the other members of the rescue team have grown extremely fond of her. That being said, there is a certain legal process that must be followed in cases like this. Animal Control, as well as the appropriate branches of the Sherriff’s Offices, have been notified and are already on top of things. We will work to ensure that she is in a loving and caring environment but this incident does have legal ramifications and both the law and due process will have their day.I would like to acknowledge and thank all of the other members of the rescue team who took time out of their lives and cared enough to attempt this rescue: Alex Gelb, Stefan Kleinschuster, Ralph Kolva, Chase Lindell (who pulled off one of the most outstanding feats of strength and endurance that I have even seen), Chris O’Riley, John Steed, and Christoph Tomford. What they accomplished was no small feat and if you know these men or ever run across them be sure to shake their hand and buy them a beer. This rescue would not have been possible without all of their combined efforts. They are heroes, every single one.
I would also like to thank our veterinarian, who is one of the nicest and kindest men I’ve ever met; Brandon Vail, who organized the search party that went up Saturday night; and Erik Willcutt, who spent all day Sunday scouring the mountainside looking for Lucky/Missy. There were many other individuals who participated in this rescue and their efforts are greatly appreciated.
It is our sincere hope that this effort will be remembered, not for our accomplishments, but as a reminder of the good that we are all capable of and of the amazing the things that can happen when even just a few people are willing to stand up and do the right thing.
Thank you to everyone for your love, support, and well wishes.
Scott and Amanda
- I will now offer my personal opinion concerning the dog and Mr. Ortolani. This is the one and only statement I will make about this and I would ask that others let this be the final word as this has turned into a very heated and passionate exchange.According to Mr. Ortolani he was in a bad situation, and fearing for his life he made the decision to abandon his dog. I will say that I understand this. My wife and I had to abandon her as well. When we found her on Saturday we knew that we would be unable to bring her out ourselves and with extremely heavy hearts we left her on a rock knowing that she may die. That being said, this is as far as my understanding goes. Despite being forced to abandon her, we came back for her. When I left the trailhead on Monday morning I fully expected to find that she had passed away, yet I went anyway. Dozens of people devoted their time and effort to find a dog they had no connection with other than a photograph and the idea that looking for her was the right thing to do. I could make numerous other arguments but I believe that this is the heart of the issue.Mr. Ortolani claims that he has learned his lesson, and it is my sincere hope that he has. My concern now is that this dog finds a happy and healthy home with owners that will love her and be willing to be responsible for her. It is my opinion that despite Mr. Ortolani’s great remorse he does not meet the above criteria.I offer this as my opinion and will fight for it but I will remind everyone that it is only such, my opinion. This dog’s fate will be decided by due legal process who will hopefully act impartially to make a fair and just decision.
- Finally, an update from the prosecutor in the case (who is also a member of the 14ers community)
I have been following this thread with great interest as I, a 14ers.com member, will be the prosecutor handling the criminal charges in this case. If you were one of the rescuers or personally witnessed anything that happened on the mountain please contact me through my 14ers.com profile. I want to make sure we have contact information for all potential witnesses. Any photographs or video that you may have will also be helpful. If we get to the point where the judge is considering punishment I will do another post with information for whomever would like to send a letter to the judge to make their opinion known as to what should happen to the defendant and the dog. However please remember that under the law Mr. Ortolani is innocent until proven guilty.That is all I can comment on for now. I will continue to keep the 14ers.com community updated on the progress of the case.Scott Turner, Chief Deputy District Attorney, 5th Judicial District