Everyone knows dogs are the best companions anyone could ask for. Because of their empathetic nature, the bonds they make with their families are extraordinarily strong.
For one man and his pup, this bond was put to the test at the foothills of the Julian Alps in northeastern Italy.
Alone except for each other, and with no cell signal reaching their location, the duo was cut off from the world around them. This was exactly how they liked it; their hike was a yearly tradition for them, and the two were enjoying their time camping in the icy terrain at 2,300 feet. However, things went wrong when attempting to navigate a ravine, the man fell and suffered multiple injuries including a broken ankle. Suddenly, the idyllic getaway had turned into a life-and-death struggle!
The day was Thursday, February 11th. The man and his dog were not expected back home until Monday, February 15th. Worse yet, he had been injured a ways away from most of his supplies. Struggling to keep warm, the man and his dog huddled together for warmth and used leaves, branches, and even a topographical map to cover themselves. With agonizing pain, the man was able to pull himself towards a nearby creek. There, he got needed water, as well as a chance to catch his bearings.
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Days passed. Monday came and went, as man and dog fought to stay alive on the remote forested mountainside. Unknown to them, the call for help had been sent out by his fiancee. Concerned that he hadn’t returned on time or sent word ahead that he would be delayed, she asked for help from the Corpo Nazionale Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico (National Mountain and Cave Rescue Corps). They were able to quickly mount a search and rescue operation that targeted his last known location.
It was a full week — seven days and seven nights — until both the man and his loyal dog were found. Thursday, February 18th, rescuers got a lucky break. They spotted his thermal blanket, which led rescuers to his encampment.
Shortly after, they were able to find the man himself. In a press release on their Facebook page, the CNSAS described the conditions they found him in, saying, “The [unnamed] man was wounded and polycontused but conscious and had the little dog, Ash, a mixed breed, next to him. [The man explained that] he managed to survive thanks to the company of the doggy. He was thirsty and hungry.”
Fortunately, rescuers were able to get both the man and his pup off of the mountain and return them home. Both are currently recovering from their harrowing ordeal.
While this story could have very easily had a much sadder ending, the efforts of both the man and the dog to care for one another changed the outcome and kept them safe! While most of us may never be put in such a dangerous position with our pets, the events of that week can serve as a reminder to us all of the bonds we share with our canine companions.
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