When three hikers set out in Australia’s iconic Mount Glorious National Park, they were smart enough to have their cameras handy for all the incredible photo opportunities they would encounter.
However, nothing could have possibly prepared Jessica Paton, a woman who posted this story on photo sharing site Imgur under “Dangerm0use”, and her family for how they would soon spend their day and the photos they’d be taking to prove the amazing trip…
It was July 24, 2016, and Jessica Paton, a.k.a. Dangerm0use, took to social media to share her truly shocking story from the day before. She had expected to be taking a lot of silly selfies and photos with her husband Luke McMillan and father Graham, but instead, their incredible tale led to international fame.
Jessica explained that the original plan was for her and Luke to bring her dad to see some rock pools in a fairly secluded section of Mount Glorious National Park. Yet as the trio walked alongside a creek bed, they noticed a disturbance in one of the deep pools ahead of them. While most people might jump to thinking it was just a fish swimming about or even a snake, the Australian family figured they were dealing with a baby kangaroo or a platypus….
The family knew this would be a great opportunity to see some wildlife in the famous park, but they had to approach very quietly. Once they got a little closer, the family was crushed to see this “forlorn little face looking back”. Jessica wrote that it was one of the saddest sights she had ever seen.
The family had found a dog who looked as if it was in complete distress. “We approached cautiously, not knowing whether this was a domesticated or wild dog. Either way, we couldn’t leave it there in the freezing water.” They knew they had to help. What if it was their pet in need?
Against The Stream
The poor pooch was completely exhausted, not from its long trek up the mountain, but from all its attempts at struggling to climb out of the deep section of water it had fallen into. They knew they had to do something or there was no way the dog would survive the night…
The family knew they needed to be cautious and grabbed a giant stick in case the dog attacked after they pulled it out of the water. “We gently looped a rope around its head/shoulders, and with a slight struggle, dragged it out onto the rocks,” Jessica wrote. Yet what happened next stunned the hikers: The dog wasn’t aggressive at all!
Far From Home
In fact, the sad, terrified dog timidly hid away from them and went back towards the pool. When it turned away, they saw she was a female who had been neutered. Jessica and family knew this could only mean one thing: the dog had once been domesticated and she was a long way from home…
Nowhere To Go
The family knew there was a good chance she had been dumped or lost and they couldn’t just leave her there to die. “She was in a completely inhospitable section of bush, in a gully with cliff face and hectares of national park on one side, and a scrubby, rocky, unscaleable bank up to a busy road on the other. There were also no houses within at least a 5KM radius, and no obvious way for her to make her own way out of the gully.”
As the dog moved off, they had no choice but to wade into the flower bushes after her, but the scrub was so thick they lost her. They heard her up in the distance and knew they couldn’t give up now. Finally, they found her hiding underneath a thick undergrowth. The little dog had dug out an area for herself. This was their only chances to surround her from all three sides and keep her from escaping again…
Jessica, Luke, and Graham decided to wait it out to see if she was aggressive and would come to them or not. Finally, Jessica got close enough to give her a scratch on the head and the stray pleasantly responded with a lick on her hand. The trio decided to name their new friend Miss Piggy, a funny name since the poor dog seemed to have gained some weight on her mountain adventure.
What Goes Up
Now that they knew she was friendly, the family had to figure out how to get her off the mountain. They knew coaxing her down the train wouldn’t work but they did have ropes for repelling down waterfalls. Maybe they just needed to tie her up so she couldn’t run?
Must Come Down
“We created a makeshift harness with non-slip knots, and tried to coax Miss Piggy to slowly climb through the scrub and loose rocks with us. She (predictably) wasn’t overly keen on that, so we set about carrying/nudging her along – one person leading her and another pushing/carrying her from behind. We secured the long end of rope to some trees above, to prevent her from slipping down the bank, and tried to make some slow progress,” Jessica wrote.
It became increasingly clear that the trail downward was dangerous for poor Miss Piggy. There were unstable rocks beneath their feet, the embankment was laced with vines, and the brush made it easy to trip. The crew was each getting caught on vines beneath their feet and Miss Piggy was making zero progress. As Jessica tried to boost her up over a small ledge, her make-shift harness came undone and she made a run for it…
“The only way I could stop her was to get in front of her and head her off before she got to open ground. With her escape plan thwarted, she slumped down into the undergrowth and resumed her state as an immovable object,” Jessica wrote. Miss Piggy was now terrified and completely worn out but they knew she was happy because she was showing love for her rescuers with some reassuring cuddles. She must have been out there a very long time!
“It was becoming pretty obvious that she wouldn’t be able to make it up the bank unless we carried her, and so we were throwing around options for a harness and hammock set-up, using towels and ropes,” they said. Finally, Luke remembered that he had a large canvas bag in their car. If they could walk just 15 minutes back up the creek, maybe Miss Piggy would get inside and they could carry her down.
A Big Girl!
By some miracle, she fit in the bag. Yet when Luke and Graham lifted her, she was approximately 88 pounds. Together, they could carry her, but they were afraid to risk dropping her down the bank. They had to make their Macgyver apparatus completely foolproof with strong branches threaded through the bag’s handles. Now they could finally carry her down.
It took about a 30-minute climb through the bushes to deliver Miss Piggy to the bottom of the mountain and over to where they parked. She was all smiles to finally be around people again. Mount Glorious was no place for a dog to be all alone and it was clear she had seen a lot up there. “When we opened the back of the car, we were greeted with a different dog – the little tail was going a mile a minute,” Jessica wrote.
After giving Miss Piggy a real meal, Jessica wanted to try and track down her owners. It was a long shot but she posted on a Facebook page for lost pets in the area they had just hiked. Much to her surprise, she received a message just 30 minutes later from a man who lived about 9 miles from where she was hiding. “He was absolutely sure this was his dog, who’d been lost since Jun 30 after wandering out of their yard,” Jessica wrote. But she was crushed when he referred to the dog as “Bob”, implying he had lost a male dog…
Thankfully, the dog’s name was “Elly-Bobby” (named after Ricky Bobby) and Bobby’s dad had plenty of proof that Miss Piggy was his little girl after all. The poor man had been searching for hours every night since she disappeared, never giving up hope that he’d find her. The man had been posting signs and scouring all over, thinking he would never see his beloved dog again. Jessica knew she had to plan their reunion for as soon as possible.
When Bobby/Miss Piggy reunited with her dad it was a joyous sight and Jessica said she was overwhelmed to see him again. The poor dog probably never thought she’d ever see her family again. Nobody knows what Bobby was up to from June 30 to July 23, but it’s a true miracle she kept herself and came out of the whole ordeal relatively unscathed. She had no signs of injury but was found in a treacherous area of the park. Maybe she had found someone to take care of her in between? Jessica says, “Whatever the story, we were just happy to have been in the right place at the right time to be able to help her.”