Dog lost in wildfire rescued in California mountains

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (AP) – A dog separated from its owner last summer as a wildfire forced evacuations in the mountains of northern California has been found after an off-piste skier spotted the animal in deep snow last month, triggering an intense rescue operation.

Russ, a pit bull terrier mix, fled his owner’s vehicle in August as the Caldor fire roared towards South Lake Tahoe, according to a Facebook post from Tahoe PAWS and TLC 4 Furry Friends, the organization. nonprofit that helped rescue the dog. end December.

The owner was forced to evacuate because of the fire, after searching for the dog and reporting its disappearance to animal service officials, the San Francisco Chronicle reported on Saturday.

“It was assumed that Russ had been lost for good,” Furry Friends officials said on Facebook.

But on December 16, a man skiing west of Tahoe saw the dog and posted photos of the animal online.

Leona Allen, an experienced animal stalker who volunteers with Furry Friends, and her volunteer partner, Elsa Gaul, donned snowshoes and hiked the steep terrain following what they hoped were dog trails.

Allen told The Chronicle that she spotted the dog in the snow and feared he was dead.

“So I walked over, and all of a sudden he opened his eyes and looked up, and I screamed. It was just unintentional, ”said Allen, 61.

Allen and Gaul won the dog’s trust and brought him down the mountain wrapped in a blanket on a sled.

Russ was in good health, Allen said, and within days he was reunited with his family, who live in Riverside County, the Chronicle reported.

Furry Friends officials said, “When contacted, the owner was delighted to find his dog was alive! “

“As a rescue organization… that’s what we’re supposed to do,” Allen said. “I keep reliving the moment he opened his eyes and lifted his head, and the joy and elation inside of me was overwhelming. It is one more life that must be lived happily, warmly and in safety.


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Jennifer R. Strohm