Denver (Colorado) | The body of a 71-year-old hiker who went missing in August was found in the southern Colorado mountains and his dog who survived was still at his side, a rescue group said, CNN reported.
As per CNN, Rich Moore embarked with his Jack Russell Terrier, Finney, on August 19 with plans to summit Blackhead Peak - a 12,500-foot elevation peak in Colorado's San Juan Mountains - and never returned, according to a Facebook post from Taos Search and Rescue.
The hiker, who was from nearby Pagosa Springs, was missing for about ten weeks until a hunter stumbled across his remains on October 30, about two and a half miles east of the mountaintop, and Finney was there alongside him, according to the volunteer rescue group.
As per Taos member Delinda Vanne-Brightyn, who responded to the initial search for Moore, the dog had lost about half of his body weight when he was discovered but appeared to be in relatively good shape.
"The loyalty of that dog just brings us all to tears," she told CNN on Monday.
Vanne-Brightyn joined the search for Moore with her certified K9 shepherd, AkioYodasan. Search and rescue crews looked for Moore several times, beginning at the mountain peak and moving westward toward the parking lot where he had left his car, she said, as per CNN.
She said that parts of the mountain are so steep that the crews had to be flown in by a helicopter. She noted hiking the summit is an "extremely rigorous" undertaking.
The weather was bright and sunny on the day Moore went missing, Vanne-Brightyn said, noting an avid hiker should have been able to see where his car was parked from the peak.
"[It] defied all of our lost person behaviour that he went over the other side of the mountain," Vanne-Brightyn said.
CNN has reached out to the Archuleta County Sheriff's Office for information on Moore's cause of death.
According to CNN, Vanne-Brightyn believes Finney likely survived on water from nearby underground streams and by capturing small animals such as field mice or chipmunks.
A division spokesperson told CNN that the dog was taken into custody by the sheriff's office animal control division before being returned to his other owners.