Although dogs are happy and content in their forever homes, they are tempted by outdoor adventures. The furs of sunshine would like to explore places and feed their curious minds. That’s why whenever there’s a chance to freely run, they would grab the opportunity. However fascinating, your role as a pet parent is to ensure safe outdoor exploration. Keep an eye on them and immediately call them out whenever they stray too far. Your pet might end up getting lost due to being immersed in the moment. Their fascination can distract them — ending up in an unfamiliar place. It’s most especially dangerous if they went missing in the wild. Domesticated dogs might still have survival instincts, but the wild outdoors is strange to them.
However, there are instances when it’s difficult to keep an eye on your dog. Some canines are so adventurous that not even a thick pile of snow can stop them. Riley was that dog, a Shetland Sheepdog cherished by Mike Grugman. They reside in Summit County, Colorado, a place near the mountains. It was a significantly snowy day, and their five-foot fence was covered with thick snow. Mike assumed that Riley walked over the fence and began his quest. He only became aware that Riley left the premises after checking their property. But the dog was nowhere to be found — Mike sought help from Summit Lost Rescue.
The search went on for weeks, yet they never encountered any sign that the dog was around. It was turning into a hopeless situation until a hiker found the missing Sheltie. Four miles away and 4,000 feet above Mike’s home, Zachary Hackett offered help to the missing dog. “I heard the smallest little yip, and at first I was startled, ‘cause you don’t know what is behind you,” he said in an interview with KDVR. “Then I said ‘wait a minute, that’s a dog. There shouldn’t be dogs up here.’” Indeed, no dog would never be safe in the wild mountains, not to mention the freezing temperatures.
Due to concern for the dog, Zachary carefully grabbed the attention of the wandering dog. Then he noticed that Riley had lost strength in his legs, making him immobilized for a while. Zachary did not think twice and carried the poor dog with him. As soon as they arrived at Zachary’s home, the hiker immediately attended to Riley’s needs. The whole night, he made sure that Riley was fine and warm. After that, he took Riley to the vet for medical care and was admitted for three days because an IV was required. The news arrived at Mike’s household — he was completely relieved that the missing dog was alive.
They were reunited after a month, and Mike quickly noticed the drastic change Riley went through. “He was around 24 pounds before he went missing, and when I weighed him at the vet, he was 12.6,” the pet parent said. “He lost at least half his weight.” Mike couldn’t believe that Riley survived five weeks in the mountains. He thought of his late wife — telling everyone that it must have been her doing. She might have guided Zachary to where Riley was. According to the hiker, he walked on a path that wasn’t part of his usual route. “I wasn’t supposed to be in that area,” Zachary shared. “It was random.” Riley’s case is truly a wonder, but his strong will to come back home to Mike might have played a huge role as well.