It’s always a scary experience when a dog goes missing, especially when they’re lost in the wild. You’re left worrying if you’ll ever see your pet again or if they’ll survive on their own.
But after being lost for five days in the snowy mountains of Colorado, one dog is finally home safe and sound.
Curtis Culver, from Denver, is no stranger to the mountains in Grand County: he backpacks across the mountains every year with his brother. But on one recent trip, they were overwhelmed with unexpected snowfall and decided to call for help, according to 9News.
But when rescuers arrived, Curtis’ dog, Stella, got scared off and ran away from their campsite. Unfortunately, weather conditions made it impossible to go out and look for her, as it was too cold to camp out another night.
Curtis was forced to retreat while his beloved dog was still lost in the snowy woods: “It was just the emptiness you feel inside knowing you are not leaving with all the lives you came with,” he told 9News.
But all hope was not lost. A few days later, a Grand County Search and Rescue team volunteered to hike back to the campsite, hoping to find Stella alive. It was no easy task: the trek was 14 miles round-trip, and the area had just been hit with 6-10 inches of snow.
“It’s really important to them that they close missions out completely, and this was just an open end that no one wanted to leave open,” said volunteer Michael DonMoyer.
Thankfully, their heroic efforts were not in vain: they found Stella in the woods, not far from the campsite. She had survived five days on her own, reportedly surviving on food from her backpack.
After a scary ordeal, Stella was finally reunited with Curtis, and they were overjoyed to see each other again.