Dog Protects Owner Injured on Hike by Keeping Man Warm with Cuddles: 'His Loyalty Did Not Stop'

A hiker slipped and fell 500 feet in Croatia's Velebit mountain range, critically injuring his leg — and his beloved pup stayed by his side until they were both rescued

dog saves hiker
Photo: Croatian Mountain Rescue Service via AP

A dog is being hailed a hero after keeping an injured hiker warm and alive in the snowy Croatian mountains.

North — an eight-month-old Alaskan Malamute pup — stayed by his owner's side during a New Year's weekend hike that ended in an accident. Grga Brkic slipped and fell 500 feet, critically injuring his leg in Croatia's Velebit mountain range, according to the Associated Press. The man's canine companion braved the frigid weather with Brkic and kept the hiker safe and warm by lying on top of him.

While North stayed with his owner, the two other hikers with Brkic alerted rescuers to their friend stranded 5,905 feet above sea level.

The Croatian Mountain Rescue Service — the team behind Brkic's eventual rescue — shared news of the incident and its happy ending in a Facebook post earlier this week, including a photo of the North protecting his owner while the man lay on a stretcher.

"Friendship and love between man and dog know no boundaries," the rescue team wrote in their post. "He [North] curled up with him [Brkic] and warmed him with his body. His loyalty did not stop … guarding his man for 13 hours. From this example, we can all learn about caring for each other."

A team of 27 first responders was involved in Brkic's rescue, which proved difficult due to snow, ice, and broken trees. These elements made it challenging for rescuers to reach Brkic and his beloved canine. The rescue team was able to transport the dog dad and North to medics on Tuesday morning.

According to The Guardian, Brkic told Croatian media that "the minutes and seconds before they [rescuers] arrived were so slow."

"This little dog is a real miracle," Brkic added.

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