Dog Stays with Injured Hiker in Freezing Alpine Foothills for 7 Nights

by Jon D. B.

As any loyal dog owner will tell you, “man’s best friend” isn’t just a saying – it’s the hard truth. Little Ash and his 33-year-old hiker are living proof.

An outdoors tradition quickly turned deadly for mixed breed Ash and his unnamed (33) owner. Each year, the duo take to the foothills of the Julian Alps of northeast Italy for their annual hike. A pair of pros, they were well equipped for the freezing weather, ice, and snow. Accidents, however, happen even for the most well-prepared.

In a freak slip, Ash’s owner broke his ankle in a nasty, several-meter mountain slip. Despite his shattered ankle and several other injuries, the hiker says he managed to drag himself close to water – with Ash never leaving his side. With no cell signal at an elevation of 2,300 feet, the man soon found he and Ash would have to make it on their own.

For 7 nights of blistering Alpine cold, Ash and his owner would huddle together just to survive.

Despite it all, the hiker says he “managed to survive thanks to the company of the dog,” his rescuers state. Those incredible rescuers are Corpo Nazionale Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico’s mountain team. Posting to their Facebook, the team confirms the Thursday rescue was a success.

The Trieste, Italy native clearly has an unflappable bond with Ash, and the two live to tell their harrowing tale. Speaking to officials afterward, the hiker says that slipping “for several meters in a canal” was the source of their entire struggle.

Rescue Team Locates Hiker & Dog by Helicopter

Rescue officials began their search for the Trieste man after his girlfriend reported him missing. The type to return on schedule, she sought emergency assistance immediately when he did not show Monday.

As a result, rescue efforts began Thursday morning. The search team took to the air above the Alps via helicopter. Finally, days-on into the search, the team spotted the “metallic glimmer” of the hiker’s thermal blanket. When found, Ash and his owner were “about 100 meters away” from the hiking trail.

Despite severe bruising and a broken ankle, the hiker was “conscious and had the little dog Ash” close by, officials report.

Ash and his owner were “thirsty and hungry,” and both were stabilized immediately before being winched into the helicopter. By 9 a.m., seven days after their disastrous plunge, the two were safe.

Ash never left his hiker’s side, accompanying him on their flight to safety.

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