When they headed out snowmobiling, a couple in Utah would never have predicted that their trip would become a huge rescue mission to save four canine lives.
By, 6 Dec 2019
Animal rescue stories are unfortunately not uncommon, but sometimes you come across stories, like this rescue mission in the snowy wilderness, that simply take your breath away.
Kat Perry and Corey Holt were snowmobiling together through the Utah backcountry when they made a shocking discovery they will likely never forgot.
Up ahead they spotted a dirty looking Great Pyrenees Dog standing on her own in the snow. It was clear to the couple that she had puppies so they decided to take a closer look.
"She was miles away from any road just walking along," Kat told BuzzFeed News. She also noticed that the dog looked "super skinny."
Understandably concerned, the next day the kind pair decided to head back out to where they'd seen the dog. They took with them a lot of dog food and a crate in the hope they would be able to find where the mother dog had been living.
They returned to the remote Ant Flat park area near Monte Cristo and were relieved to finally find the mum and her three pups. However, they could only feel shocked when they realised the animals’ living conditions.
The dogs had been living in the gnawed out carcass of a sheep and were completely exposed to the elements.
Kat slowly coaxed out the mother with some food. "She'd been sprayed by a skunk, so it was obvious that at one point she had tried to eat that," Kat said.
Wet and shivering
But once they got the dog out, they then discovered three thin, wet and shivering puppies that were just like fluffy balls of ice.
The animal carcass they had been living in was just thin bone and offered them no warmth or protection.
"I mean, there was nothing left on that," Kat said. "It was completely depleted of meat for quite a while and only had a little bit of wool on it."
Kat and Corey contacted the Weber County Sheriff’s Office’s search and rescue team who were fortunately already in the area. They used a sleigh to get the puppies off the mountain. Their mum was very nervous and obviously didn’t trust the rescuers. So it was decided to leave her there and come back the next day and try again.
“We didn’t have a leash. We didn’t have a rope or anything, so we decided the best thing was get these guys out first and then go back in and try to get her,” Corey told Fox 13.
The team left dog food out for the mother and kept returning each day to look for her, determined to find her.
Although it's not entirely clear on the circumstances that led to the dogs being there, it's a popular area for guarding sheep and authorities don't believe they were deliberately abandoned.
"We believe the mother belonged to a sheepherder and may have left camp to have the pups," he said. "At that time the sheepherder may have left to get his flock off the mountain and may not have had a whole lot of time to go look for mom or the pups."
But Kat knows all too well that this happens quite frequently. She rescued her Border Collie after it had been abandoned while injured on a mountain.
"Not uncommon for herders to leave behind these dogs," Kat said. "People think they're disposable."
The 7-week old pups were utterly exhausted by their ordeal and it seemed that they'd only been surviving on the dead sheep they had been curled up in. But the two boys and one girl are recovering well and perhaps not surprisingly, “eating everything in sight” according to Kat.
Posted by Kat Perry on Monday, December 2, 2019
It's expected that the puppies have come from a much larger littler of up to 10 puppies, but the other pups didn’t survive.
"Around Halloween, which is when they were born, it got really cold here, like 20 below zero. They would have been a week old. I'm sure they froze to death,” Kat added.
After looking after the pups, Kat has decided to adopt one and will either name him Polar or Rowdy.
But it shouldn't be too long before the other puppies find their forever homes as not surprisingly, these gorgeous fluffy pups have quickly won over many hearts.
"At this time Great Pyrenees Rescue, Montana is not accepting any more applications for the adoption of these three puppies due to the overwhelming response," the sheriff's office posted on Facebook.