Heartbroken Dog Sticks To Her Late Owner For 72 Days After A Horrible Tragedy

I am certain that most people, when asked to name one quality that dogs possess, would answer loyalty.

And, they would be correct because dogs are indeed loyal creatures. It’s a well-known fact, right? 

We all know it, but sadly take it for granted quite often.

It isn’t until we hear a story like this one that we are truly shaken and reminded of the immense loyalty these furry creatures show us on a daily basis.

A Jack Russell Terrier named Finney has been named a miracle dog and a wonder dog for her act of loyalty in a tale of tragedy and survival that has brought people all over the world to tears. 

A Horrible Tragedy

old guy holding a dog
Source: Dana Holby via Outside Magazine

On August 19th, an avid hiker from Pagosa Springs, Colorado, Rich Moore, and his beloved dog, Finney, set out with plans to summit Blackhead Peak, a 12,500-foot mountain located 35 miles east of town.

Sadly, they never returned. 

When Moore failed to check in that evening with his wife, Dana Holby, who was then visiting her sister in Montana, she immediately notified her son and the authorities. 

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The disappearance of Rich and Finney prompted the largest search and rescue mission in the history of the county, with more than 100 volunteers searching for days. 

There were missing posters hung around the town, helicopters were hovering over the area looking for any sign of them, and people and dogs scoured the mountain, but to no avail.

missing poster
Source: Dana Holby via Daily Mail

“I was beside myself thinking about Rich and Finney. It was a trail that Rich knew and I thought ‘he’s just going to go up and come back down’ like he was planning. He just didn’t do it,” Dana Holby told Outside Online. 

72 days after Rich and Finney disappeared without a trace, a hunter following the deer herds had found a body and a dog on a wooded ridge on Blackhead Peak, according to the Sheriff’s office. 

When the Archuleta County Sheriff’s office received the call, they all figured that the dog was dead, too, but oh dear, were they wrong. 

“On October 30th, the body of missing hiker 71-year-old Rich Moore of Pagosa Springs has been found, along with his dog, who was found alive and with his body,” Taos Search and Rescue said in their Facebook post.

To everyone’s disbelief, Finney had amazingly survived in the wilderness for more than two months while never leaving her owner’s deceased body. 

young guy holding a dog
Source: Dana Holby via Daily Mail

“It just brings us all to tears, the loyalty of that dog,” TSAR member Delinda Vanne-Brightyn told CNN.   

Loyal To A Fault 

Finney had always had a special bond with Rich, and they were inseparable, which continued even after Rich was not alive anymore. 

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When the rescuers finally arrived at the location, she was still trying to protect him – teeth barred, barking, and ready to attack. 

During those two months, she had lost half of her weight and had a small injury, but she stayed loyal to her loving owner. 

little dog laying on the floor
Source: Dana Holby via Outside Magazine

Finney probably survived by hunting rodents and small animals and drinking water from the nearby streams… like the true Jack Terrier she is. 

The officials believe that Moore likely died of hypothermia and exposure.

“I was in disbelief and frankly still am that Rich isn’t here. Finney coming home was otherworldly,” Dana said. 

Keeping Finney safe and healthy is the family’s purpose now, especially after her heroic act. “I’ll do anything for her. I’m just happy to have her back. She’s a piece of us,” Dana said. 

cute little puppy in the house
Source: Dana Holby via CBS News

Although Dana is crushed by the loss of her husband, she feels like Rich sent her Finney to keep her safe. 

After Finney’s incredible display of bravery and loyalty, she has quickly become a worldwide celebrity. 

“People will tell me how incredible the story is. And then they will stop and see me and say ‘Oh, I’m so sorry.”

Finney, small but mighty, is truly a wonder dog.

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