When 71-year-old Rich Moore set off for the summit of Blackhead Peak in Colorado with his Jack Russell Terrier named Finney on August 29th, he expected to come back soon. He and Finney were from nearby Pagosa Springs and were regulars outdoors. They went missing for 10 weeks; they weren’t found until October 30th.
Moore was found dead by a hunter about two and a half miles east of the mountaintop, with Finney cuddled along his side. Given the layout of the trail, Moore should have been able to see his car was parked in the parking lot west of the trail. His wandering in the opposite direction left many puzzled. Taos Search and Rescue member Delinda Vanne-Brightyn was among the rescuers who had been looking. “[It] defied all of our lost person behavior that he went over the other side of the mountain.”
Speaking with CNN about finding Finney, Vanne-Brightyn said, “It just brings us all to tears the loyalty of that dog.” Vanne-Brightyn believes Finney remained hydrated thanks to a nearby stream, and field mice or chipmunks would have been readily available and catchable for a Jack Russell. Still, the dog lost about half of his size.
Loyalty like this is not uncommon for dogs. Across the nation, homeless people, farmers, and other devoted owners have dogs that are loyal beyond belief. They stay by their owners and will defend them until the bitter end. People have been found with dogs by their side in some of the worst conditions known to man. Curled in and often starving themselves, these animals will stand by their owners and ensure they give them the best chance at making it back to civilization.
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No wonder we call them man’s best friend.