62-year-old Warren Muldoon sat on a ledge above a 40-foot waterfall in a remote canyon on Mount Baldy. He had fallen down four smaller waterfalls while trying to get to safety after he got lost while hiking down from the summit.
He had a broken leg, five broken ribs and a punctured lung.
30 feet above him was his beloved dog, Dakota, who had fallen twice with him but was now scared to go any farther.
Muldoon was lying there helpless, in the freezing cold, with a broken phone and no way to get in touch with anyone.
He thought he was going to die there, until he looked down and saw a group of people in the valley below. He got their attention and the people called for a rescue helicopter.
Soon after, a San Bernardino County sheriff’s helicopter came to his rescue. He told him his dog was still there, but they said they had to quickly get him to a hospital because he was hypothermic and could die.
Poor Dakota sat and watched his owner fly away in a helicopter without her. “I could see Dakota just standing there looking at me,” Muldoon told dailybulletin.com. “It just broke my heart to leave her.”
Dakota, a three-year-old German shepherd mix, had belonged to their son James, who sadly passed away after a motorcycle accident. Muldoon and his wife then adopted Dakota as their own.
“Dakota was the one thing that [Warren] absolutely loved,” Connie Muldoon, Warren’s wife, told dailybulletin.com. “He would have laid his life down for that dog.”
Dakota and Muldoon go everywhere together, running or hiking every chance they get. They’ve hiked Mount Baldy many times, but this time was their first time in the snow. They got to the top with ease, but once the wind picked up, it all went downhill from there.
Connie turned to Facebook, pleading for help in finding their beloved dog. An experienced mountaineer in a hiking group saw their plea, and agreed to look for Dakota.
The mountaineer, Chris Simpson, set foot up Ski Hut Trail to find Dakota when he saw another hiker who was searching for Dakota. The two of them worked together and eventually found her! They offered her some salami and then were able to grab ahold of her. They tied a safety rope to her and led her down the mountainside.
After being treated at the vet, Dakota was brought to the hospital to reunite with Warren. Their reunion was caught on camera, and it is so sweet to see!
“I truly don’t know how I’d live the rest of my life if she died up there,” Muldoon said. Thankfully, he won’t have to worry about that. Dakota is now safe, and the two of them are finally together again.
Watch their sweet reunion in the video below, and click here to read the full story.