August of 2018 will always leave a bitter taste for the Orr family, from Kansas.
During the month when everyone was relaxing, enjoying the summer, and planning their vacations, the Orr’s had lost their loved one.
The family’s mother, Jennifer, and her daughter, Sam, had a terrible crash. Their Jeep went down 600 feet off a mountain road in Chaffee County, Colorado.
The mother didn’t make it.
Together with them was a one-year-old Goldendoodle, Bentley.
The tragedy was heartbreaking and core-shaking, not only for the family, but also for those who didn’t know Sam and Jennifer.
The only beam of light in this dark time for the father and the surviving daughter was the hope that Bentley survived.
The pup was somehow catapulted from the Jeep, leaving his owners to anticipate his return.
Could it be?
Could a Goldendoodle survive three weeks alone in the mountains, far from his natural habitat?
No one could believe it, but Bentley proved everyone wrong and made two humans happy despite all their sorrow.
The Trip That Changed Everything
Back in 2017, Samantha Orr was still a young woman, studying abroad. As her overseas adventure was coming to an end, she got an abrupt idea she simply had to make true:
To get a dog the moment she returns to the States.
Although her family loved dogs with all their heart, they warned Sam that a dog is a great responsibility.
But, the young woman didn’t care. She wanted a pooch very badly. It was supposed to be her first adult purchase.
Enter their lives: Bentley.
Bentley was a smol pupper, a Goldendoodle Sam brought home 24 hours after she returned to the States. The bond was instant, and Sam didn’t waste time on adjusting her life to Bentley or puppy proofing everything.
Because Bentley adapted instantly! His initiation was definitely the first jeeping trip Sam took him on in 2017. He absolutely loved every second of it and proved to be such a great pup.
Ever since, Bentley went everywhere Sam went as her adventure sidekick.
She couldn’t ask for a better one.
Almost exactly a year later, after their first jeeping trip, something unexpected happened.
After repairing their grandpa’s old Jeep, the Orr family embarked on another adventure. This time, their route was a difficult one: a 4×4 off-road trail, also known as the Iron Chest Mine, their mom’s favorite.
Sam doesn’t remember much from the accident. All of a sudden, she felt the Jeep rolling, and things were flying over her head, including her dog, Bentley.
Sam lost her mom that day, and the grief increased even more when she found out that Bentley was gone, too.
Sam ended up in a hospital after the accident, praying that people would find Bentley before he got hurt even more.
Have You Seen This Dog?
Facebook support groups and organized searching had begun almost immediately upon the accident. The entire neighborhood was involved in helping Bentley find his path back home.
The news of the accident and the terrible loss spread across the State. News covered the story, portals informed about it, and people were genuinely interested in helping Sam and the Orr family smile again after their horrific loss.
Phones were buzzing all the time, and some even called to scam Sam into thinking they’ve got Bentley, just so they could get the reward.
People can be ruthless beyond every boundary.
But, then one phone call really made a difference and sparked another beam of hope in Sam:
Someone spotted Bentley.
A man named Joe called Sam and informed her that he saw and recognized Bentley from the posters. He was spotted way above the trail hunting rock mice.
A full-blooded designer dog that was spoiled rotten was in his survival mode, eating rock mice!
How incredible was that dog?
After 19 long days, Sam finally had proof of what her heart was telling her.
Bentley was alive, and now it was time to bring him home.
The Hike That Saved Bentley
Come Saturday, Sam was on her feet, ready for the expedition to bring back her fur baby.
She also got some news from the crew that was recovering her crashed Jeep, saying they saw Bentley and that he barked down at them.
The poor pup was so loyal in his trouble that he stayed near the site of the accident, keeping an eye on their Jeep and waiting for his beloved family to come back for him.
Now, standing at an elevation of 11,000 feet, Sam could clearly see through her binoculars:
There he was. Bentley was waiting for her.
The climb started in the morning at 9.30. Sam did love the mountains, but she wasn’t really prepared for it. Can you imagine that she climbed all the way up and down in just a pair of trainers?
Yup, that’s how much she loved that Goldendoodle.
With bruised ribs and a compressed vertebrae, Sam pushed her limits, making her way up to the ridge, fueled by her love for Bentley.
When she eventually reached the ridge, Bentley was standing some 50 feet away from her. You’d expect that your dog would come flying into your arms. But, after 19 long days, Bentley was too scared to move forward.
Every time Sam took a step forward, Bentley went back 5 steps into the mountain. At this pace, they were never going to make it.
Sam followed Bentley up to another ridge, and another, and another…
How far up will this pup go?
Then, Sam remembered something she read about handling dogs that were in survival mode.
She turned her back and started walking away from Bentley, making sure he was following her. That sparked interest in this wild pup and he slowly began following Sam to the point where she first climbed up.
Then, she sat down to rest for a bit, opened a can of treats, and waited.
Little by little, Bentley came really close to Sam… still a bit reserved, but quite interested in what she had to offer.
That’s when Sam took the viral Bentley video. The pup finally recognized his sobbing mommy and went slowly into her arms, breaking Sam’s wounded heart into pieces and mending it back together.
Where Is Bentley Today?
Coming down the mountain was so much easier for both Sam and Bentley. They took the other side of the mountain and hurried back down. This Toto was finally going home to Kansas.
Bentley was looking fine and unharmed. However, he was severely dehydrated and starving.
For the first couple of days back at home, Bentley was super protective of his food. He ate every meal like it was his last. God only knows how he survived without enough food and water up in the mountains for 19 days.
Luckily, everything else was fine with him, and the Orr family started to live their life one day at a time… still processing the loss of their mother.
Bringing back Bentley brought immense happiness to Sam and her dad, but a mother is a mother.
“We’ve also added another fur baby to the family, “Buena”, his little sister named in honor of everything our family endured in Buena Vista, Colorado. I wish my mom were here today to meet little miss Buena, she would absolutely steal my mother’s heart. And I know for damn sure my mom would be so proud of Bentley and I.” said Sam on her website.
Today, exactly five years later, Bentley is still living with Sam. He loves his life, especially now that he has a baby sister, Buena, to play with.
We’re all terribly sorry for the loss this family had to go through, and hope they’ll keep their mother, Jennifer, forever in their hearts.
As for Bentley, we hope he stays away from extreme adventures. One was already one too many.