LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (NewsNation Now) — A pit bull mix is now reunited with his owner after rescuers found the dog in deep snow — four months after he went missing.
The dog, named “Russ,” was camping with his owner in the Lake Tahoe area, 400 miles from his southern California home, when he broke free and ran off.
“We looked around for a few hours, couldn’t find him,” said Ricardo Rodriguez, Russ’ owner. “We figured, you know, our best bet is to just call shelters and he has his collar and his tag with his name and my contact, along with the chip.”
A backcountry skier reported seeing the dog struggling in deep snow four months later. An Animal Services Officer and two members of a local rescue group eventually found him not able to move.
Wendy Jones, the founder of Tahoe PAWS and TLC 4 Furry Friends, was one of the rescuers.
“I think he knew that we were there to help him and he was scared at first, but I think that he knew that our team and rescuers were there to help him,” Jones said. “He had been waiting for his owner.”
They were able to get him onto a sled and down the mountain.
“He was very cold, tired and hungry,” Jones said.
A veterinarian located his microchip and the owner.
“I was, like, ‘Man, this is this is crazy,'” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez and Russ reunited the day after Christmas.
“I think he looked confused,” Rodriguez said. “He kept, like, looking around, he didn’t know, like, what direction to go anymore. He did look a little skinny, a bit fatigued I guess you would say, but overall, he looks fine.”
Jones hopes people realize how important it is to get pets microchipped. Rodriguez is glad the technology and the rescuers got his best friend home.
“We really appreciate all the work that everyone’s put into rescue my boy Russ, and I can’t thank you guys enough,” Rodriguez said. “I really appreciate it.”