CHAFFEE COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — A Denver man is lucky to be alive with his dog by his side after the two were separated during a terrifying incident on Mount Harvard over the weekend.
Mount Harvard is located in Chaffee County, near Buena Vista. At 14,421 feet in elevation, Mount Harvard is considered one of Colorado’s tallest peaks.
On Friday, Joseph Marshall and his dog ‘Stu’ made the trek to the 14er. Somewhere along the way, Marshall began to feel ill.
“Got a little bit of altitude sickness up there. Not sure exactly what that was about,” Marshall said.
Marshall started to head back down to the trail head with his dog, when the situation got worse.
“We went into a boulder field and Stuart ended up getting lost in this boulder field,” Marshall explained.
Marshall looked for Stu for quite some time, until he sustained several injuries.
“I ended up with a boulder coming off a ledge and dislocating my shoulder,” Marshall said.
Marshall had to leave Stu behind while he was rushed to a hospital in Denver.
Meanwhile, one of Marshall’s good friends, Amber Autterson, put up a post about Stu on a Facebook group called, ‘Lost and Found Dogs of Colorado’.
Among the people who saw the post: a woman named Monika Courtney.
“It’s always a team effort,” said Courtney.
Courtney owns an animal rescue in Buena Vista called, ‘Thunderbird Spirit Ranch’. Often times she’ll donate her time to help random strangers find their missing pets.
“I hung flyers and posters up near trail head areas,” she said. “So every hiker who was up in the mountains was informed, because they had to go up that route”.
One of those posters was seen by Connor McCormick, Reesey Rea, Abby Amstutz and Tom Schafer on Sunday.
“They paid attention and they heard the dog barking and they went to this area near the boulders where the dog was supposedly lost,” Courtney explained.
The group was able to lure Stu down with a sausage, according to Courtney. They then contacted Courtney and brought the dog to her.
“It all fell in place!” Courtney said with joy.
On Monday, Courtney was able to reunite Stu with Marshall. Both were ecstatic!
“If it weren’t for Monika, I’m sorry it’s going to make me cry. If it wasn’t for all the help, and everything Monika does, Stuart might not be here,” Marshall said.
Courtney funds her animal rescue without any assistance right now. She pays for everything out of pocket.
If you’re interested in learning more about Thunderbird Spirit Ranch or to donate to it, click here.