Incredible Canine Survivor: Dog Overcomes 72 Days Alone to Heal

A Jack Russell terrier who survived after spending more than 10 weeks after her owner died in the Colorado mountains has regained most of the weight, the family said.

Incredible Canine Survivor: Dog Overcomes 72 Days Alone to Heal
17 Nov 2023, 06:06 PM
twitter icon sharing
facebook icon sharing
instagram icon sharing
youtube icon sharing
telegram icon sharing
icon sharing

A faithful dog who survived after spending more than 10 weeks by her owner who died of hypothermia while hiking in the Colorado mountains has regained most of the weight she lost during her ordeal and is back on the trails, the family said Thursday.

Rich Moore, 71, of Pagosa Springs, Colorado, set out with his Jack Russell terrier named Finney to climb Blackhead Peak on Aug. 19, but didn't return home. A dayslong search between the peak and his vehicle was unsuccessful.

Then, on Oct. 30, a hunter found Moore's body — and a very protective Finney — in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado. Finney had lost about half her body weight and her ribs were visible, officials have said.

Less than three weeks later, "Finney is doing well," Moore's wife, Dana Holby, told The Associated Press on Thursday. "She has gained almost all of her weight back and her strength is almost where it was. She is the miracle dog."

She does have an injury on her snout that might leave a scar, Holby said.

Amazing Dog's Survival Story

Amazing Dog's Survival Story

A dog named Finney has captured the hearts of many with her incredible story of survival. According to her owner, Holby, Finney is now 3 years old and has become very clingy, never wanting to leave her side. Although her ravenous appetite has calmed down, Finney initially couldn't get enough to eat and wanted food at all hours of the day and night.


Finney's remarkable tale of survival has made her famous among hikers in the Pagosa Springs area, says Holby.

When people see Finney on the hiking trails, they often ask, "Is that Finney?" to which Holby enthusiastically responds, "Yes!" Finney has become a great companion on hikes, covering 4 to 5 miles a day, and provides Holby with much comfort.

Holby also believes that Finney was with her late partner, Rich, until the very end. "I don't know how she did it, but she was there when he needed her," Holby said.

Delinda VanneBrightyn, a volunteer with Taos Search and Rescue, joined the search effort with her search dog. VanneBrightyn, who has trained dogs for two decades, describes Finney's survival as a testament to her dedication and loyalty to Moore. "Jack Russells are pretty fierce, I have to say, they're tough little dogs," she added.


Finney's incredible story of survival is not the first of its kind. It marks at least the third time a dog has been found alive next to a hiker's body since last year. In May 2022, a Labrador was discovered lying next to the body of a 74-year-old Arizona man who had passed away during a hike.

Tragic Discovery in Griffith Park

Tragic Discovery in Griffith Park

In a heartbreaking incident, the lifeless body of a 29-year-old hiker was discovered in Los Angeles' Griffith Park. The hiker had been missing for an entire month before this tragic find. What made this discovery even more heart-wrenching was the presence of his loyal dog, who had remained by his side throughout the ordeal.

The family of the hiker revealed that it seemed as though the dog had never left his side for the entire two weeks that he was missing. This unwavering loyalty displayed by the dog is a testament to the deep bond between humans and their furry companions.