Body of hiker missing since August found in Colorado mountains — with loyal dog alive and still by his side

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Dogs display an incredible level of loyalty. They stick with their owners through thick and thin, even beyond the point when their owners are no longer present.

This sentiment was poignantly illustrated in a recent heart-wrenching incident. A hiker, Rich Moore, aged 71, had gone missing along with his faithful dog on August 19. Their destination was the summit of Blackhead Peak, a challenging 12500 ft elevation peak in the San Juan Mountains, requiring a 3.15-mile hike to reach the top.

The story took a tragic turn when Taos Search and Rescue announced last week that Moore’s lifeless body was discovered on October 30. Despite the ordeal, Moore’s loyal canine companion was found alive, faithfully watching over him even after his passing. This tale serves as a powerful reminder of the unwavering loyalty that dogs bring into our lives.

Delinda Vanne-Brightyn, a member of Taos Search and Rescue, teamed up with K9 AkioYodasan in response to the search mission. Recalling the search efforts, Vanne-Brightyn mentioned, “We combed the area just below the summit and directly to the West, descending down the mountain towards the location of his car. The winds were coming directly from the West/Southwest, and the terrain was so steep that we had to be airlifted in by a helicopter.”

During their search, the team made a somber discovery. Moore’s body was located, situated 2.5 miles East of the mountain summit, just below the point where they were inserted. However, Moore was not alone. His Jack Russell Terrier, Finney, who had gone missing alongside him in August, was not only alive but steadfastly remained by her owner’s side, even in his passing.

The rescue team was deeply touched and amazed by the discovery of Finney—both by the fact that the dog had managed to endure on his own for over a month and by the unwavering loyalty he displayed to his owner.

“The loyalty of that dog just brings us all to tears,” shared Vanne-Brightyn with CNN, reflecting the emotional impact of the canine’s resilience.

Vanne-Brightyn suspects that Finney survived by sourcing water from the nearby surroundings and hunting small animals such as field mice and chipmunks for sustenance. The sheriff’s office reported that Finney was taken to a nearby veterinary hospital for examination and care before being joyfully reunited with her family. Remarkably, despite the extended period of adversity, Finney was found to be in relatively good health.

The cause of Moore’s death remains unknown, with no suspicion of foul play. Vanne-Brightyn mentioned that the day he went missing was bright and sunny, but the summit itself was described as “extremely rigorous.”

While the hiker’s passing is undeniably heartbreaking, the narrative has touched many, particularly due to Finney’s remarkable loyalty. People are astounded by the bond between the dog and his late owner. Experts note that such unwavering loyalty in dogs, even after the owner’s demise, is not uncommon.

“They become loyal to the death a lot of times,” shared dog behaviorist Russell Hartstein with CNN.

Though the story is deeply saddening, our thoughts are with Rich Moore’s family. There’s a sense of solace in knowing that his faithful dog remained by his side even in death and has now been reunited with the family. Please share this poignant story. 💔❤️

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