There is a common saying circulating in many internet spaces regarding heartwarming videos featuring dogs, pets, or animals in general: “we don’t deserve dogs/pets.” This expression is usually uttered with affection, typically by strangers on the internet who are charmed by the pets, their antics, and their abilities to empathize and display altruistic behaviors toward other animals or humans. True enough, dogs hold special place in every human’s life and vice versa.
On the 19th of August, Rich Moore, a 71-year-old hiker, reportedly set out on a hiking trip with his beloved Jack Russell Terrier named “Finney” in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. The plan was to trek Blackhead Peak, which stands at an elevation of about 10,839 feet. However, this plan never materialized. Rich and Finney never made it back home after their ascent.
Search and rescue crews, along with K-9 units, were deployed to navigate the treacherous and steep mountain in search of the missing hiker and his companion. The search began at the mountain peak and proceeded westward toward the parking lot where he had left his car. Unfortunately, for 10 weeks straight, their efforts yielded no results. It was only when a local hunter accidentally discovered Moore’s body in the mountains that progress was made. Remarkably, the loyal Finney was standing guard beside him. The hunter promptly notified the rescue team and safely escorted both the body and the dog to a secure location for examination the day after the report.
Moore’s body was in the throes of decomposition when recovered, and coroners were able to deduce the reason for his death: exposure and hypothermia. Surprisingly, Finney which was found beside her owner, was relatively healthy despite being lost in the wilderness for two months. According to her family, Finney weighed around 12 pounds the last time they saw her. However, when she was found in the mountains, unmoving next to her owner’s body, she weighed around 6 pounds during the veterinary check-up.
According to Delinda Vanne-Brightyn, one of the initial rescuers who entered the mountain, Finney might have survived by hunting small animals like wild mice and managed to avoid larger predators such as bears and coyotes. Now, the loyal dog has finally been reunited with her family, and even though they lost one family member, they are grateful that they she’s still alive.
While the notion of a dog’s loyalty has always been a mainstay in everyday logic, Finney displayed an amazing sense of loyalty and protectiveness. Experts like Russell Hartstein, who examined Finney’s reaction, say that dogs being loyal to death are not ‘uncommon.’
The Jack Russell Terrier breed has always been a fierce breed with a high drive for hunting small animals and bred to survive British wetlands and cold conditions. This display of loyalty and heartiness calls to mind other dogs and their unwavering loyalty to their humans, such as Hachiko and Kabang, dogs who risked their well-being to be with their companions. The whole ordeal adds another piece of evidence to the towering argument that we ‘do not deserve dogs.’
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