Loyal dog watches over missing hiker's body for more than two months

Jack Russell Dog reaches mountain top summit on beautiful sunny day
Against all odds, the faithful Jack Russell Terrier was still alive and standing over her owner (Image credit: Jeremy Thurston)

A search for a missing hiker in southern Colorado came to a tragic end this week when the man's body was discovered, but his family were reunited with his dog, who was miraculously found alive and standing guard over her owner.

On August 19, Rich Moore, 71, of Pagosa Springs set out with his dog to hike Blackhead Peak, a 12,500ft mountain in the southern San Juans, but never returned, prompting a nearly two-month search and rescue mission.

According to a press release by Archuleta County Sheriff's Office, a hunter discovered his body in the Lower Blanco drainage basin on October 30, nearly 10 weeks after he want missing. Against all odds, Moore's faithful Jack Russell Terrier was still alive and standing over her owner. 

Mountain rescue was dispatched to the area the following day, where they were able to extract Moore's remains. After transporting the terrier, named Finney, to a vet, she was reunited with her family.

Though Blackhead Peak trail is only six miles roundtrip, it's a steep and challenging hike and reaching the summit requires navigating rocky cliffs, while temperatures in the area on the day Moore disappeared were in the high 80s which may have added a level of risk. Moore's cause of death remains unknown, pending autopsy.

Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.