The last time Warren Muldoon saw his dog Dakota was when she stood sopping wet, watching him being rescued from a mountain ledge by helicopter.
Muldoon, 62, was hiking on Mount Baldy with his German Shepherd mix when a series of falls separated him from his dog. Hikers stumbled upon Muldoon hours later and managed to contact rescuers, although neither them or authorities could reach Dakota where she was stuck on a ledge.
Muldoon was rushed out of there as his body temperature dropped and he risks getting hypothermia. Dakota was sadly left behind. He suffered serious injuries- a broken leg, five broken ribs, and a punctured lung.
He explained to the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin: “I could see Dakota just standing there looking at me. It just broke my heart to leave her.”
3-year-old Dakota wasn’t just any family pet. Muldoon’s son James died in a motorcycle crash last year, but before he passed, James asked his parents to look after Dakota if anything ever happened to him.
When Muldoon’s wife, Connie, visited her husband in the hospital and learned what happened to Dakota, she posted about the dog on Facebook.
By the next day, a group of hikers had seen the post and took it upon themselves to search for Dakota on the mountain. It took time, effort, and dedicated searching, but the group finally located Dakota stuck on a ledge near some waterfalls.
They lured her in with a salami and were able to tie her up and bring her safely off the mountain.
Muldoon’s injuries prevented him from being immediately reunited with Dakota, but when he was, it was a beautiful and emotional day.
In the video below, as soon as Dakota spotted Muldoon in his wheelchair, she ran up to him, wagging her tail like crazy. She jumped up and sniffed and licked the cast on Muldoon’s leg.
Muldoon says that after the ordeal he isn’t planning to go hiking with Dakota again. “I truly don’t know how I’d live the rest of my life if she died up there,” he said. He is eternally grateful for the hikers for risking their lives to save his dog.
Watch the reunion below and please SHARE this story with your friends and family on Facebook!
[Featured Image Credit: John M. Blodgett, Scng]