PHOTOS: Vulnerable Puppy Found After Wilderness Rescue
Every dog owner's worst nightmare recently came true for one New York hiker... but luckily after 24 difficult hours and an amazing stroke of luck, that nightmare has turned into a beautiful reunion.
The thousands of miles of picturesque New York trails can be made even more enjoyable when you bring your four-legged friend along, but the decision comes with risks, too. From venomous snakes to aggressive off-leash dogs, it can only take a moment for a wonderful day to turn into a disaster, as one woman found out last week.
Lost Dog on McKenzie Mountain, NY
"On June 18, Ranger O'Connor [was notified] about a lost dog on McKenzie Mountain", began a recent press release from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC). The rough terrain of the 3,800-foot-tall mountain in Essex County, NY led the puppy's owner to make a decision that would weigh heavily on them for the next 24 hours.
"While hiking down the mountain, the owner had to unclip the dog, 'Wilson', so he could get down the rock scramble, but Wilson took off running. The dog's tracking device wasn't working, so the owner couldn't find him", said the NYS DEC. Unable to find the vulnerable 4-month-old puppy, the owner was forced to wait until morning to resume the search, and the small dog spent the night alone in the woods. Then, something amazing happened.
Wilson the Puppy Found on McKenzie Mountain in Essex County, NY
"At approximately 11 a.m., the puppy approached a group of hikers with a dog", the NYS DEC reported. "The hikers leashed the puppy and called the owner. Ten minutes later, Rangers O'Connor and Ordway were there to help the puppy down the trail and reunited him with his owner".
Dangers for Domestic Animals in the Wild
Ranger O'Connor (above) shared that the young age of the lost dog gave her extra cause for concern. "I wasn't sure if the puppy would hide or how it would react to strangers looking for it in the woods, after it's probably scared and out all night", she shared before describing the eventual reunion (below) as "pure joy".
New York Hiking Community Helps Find Lost Dog
Ranger O'Connor also wanted to send a special thank you to the local hiking community, who helped spread the word about Wilson and contributed to the quick rescue. "It was awesome to see how everybody came together like that, and I think it makes New York great", she said.
Wilson's owner, Jude, also had nothing but positive things to say about the strangers who pitched in to help. "I had so many strangers calling me and saying 'we're going to hike out there today, could you tell us more information so we can be more helpful?' It was so lovely that so many people reached out". Check out more awesome New York animals below.