Second miracle dog in two weeks rescued in Colorado mountains

Woman walking the dog in the forest
Nova Riley had been missing for seven weeks and survived two snowstorms (Image credit: Paul Biris)

Hikers rescued a Bernese mountain dog that had been missing for seven weeks from a Colorado trail on Sunday, marking the second canine miracle in the state this month. Just last week, we reported on the loyal dog that stood watch over her owner's body for 10 weeks.

The two hikers were walking on a trail in Meyer Ranch Park north of Conifer when they spotted the dog who appeared to be injured and alone. When they tried approach the scared dog, she bit one of the hikers, so they called for help.

When animal control and park rangers arrived at the trailhead, they soon discovered the dog was none other than Nova Riley, a service dog in training who had slipped out of her harness seven weeks earlier at a supermarket parking lot.

Nova Riley has been missing ever since, during which time there have been two snowstorms and sub-zero temperatures in the mountainous area west of Denver which sits at over 8,000ft above sea level. The courageous canine lost about a quarter of her body weight also sustained a broken leg during her traumatic time in the wild.

Fortunately, officers were able to coax the pooch to safety using tasty treats. She needs to have her broken leg amputated and won't be able to resume her duties as a service dog, but the Denver Post reports that she has been reunited with her owner.

Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for 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.