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Amazing, heroic rescue of dog abandoned on Colorado mountain

Missy the German Shepherd is safe and getting healthy

I love a great animal rescue story, and this one almost beats all. Earlier this month, a couple hiking on Mount Bierstadt in Colorado made a shocking discovery: A weak, injured German Shepherd dog. Keep in mind, this was on a very steep mountainside -- and area where you definitely don't see dogs.

Scott Washburn and his wife, Amanda, tried to help the dog, but to no avail. She was simply too weak to get up and walk on her own, and they knew they wouldn't be able to get her out alone. So they asked for help, and they definitely got it. What follows is certainly one of the most daring and inspirational animal rescue stories I've heard in a long, long time.

When Scott and Amanda Washburn realized they wouldn't be able to get the dog, named Missy, off the mountain by themselves, they first checked with a forest ranger, to find out what could be done. He couldn't help (they only do human rescues), so the couple went online with a plea for assistance. Within hours, the response was overwhelming.

A search and rescue operation was launched for Missy. Eight people set out to rescue the dog from her perch on the boulders of the mountain. It took the group nine hours, but they did it: Missy was eventually carried down the mountain in a backpack by one of the hikers.

It turns out, Missy was up on the mountain for eight days. Her owner admits he left his dog behind, because her feet were injured and she was unable to walk. Let me repeat this, just for clarity: Anthony Ortolani, Missy's owner, left her behind on Mount Bierstadt. He did not return for her. She would certainly have died had Scott and Amanda Washburn not spotted her and spearheaded such an incredible volunteer rescue effort.

Anthony Ortolani wants Missy back. This man, who (one more time) left his dog for dead on a cold, wet mountain, wants her back now. There is NO way that Ortolani should get this sweet, fortunate dog back! The very idea that he might is sickening. Ortolani gave up his rights to Missy when he left her to die. The local sheriff's department is looking into the possibility of bringing animal cruelty charges, so hopefully Missy will find a safe and happy home with an owner who loves and cares for her properly.

Back to the good news, now: Missy is recovering well. Maybe the Washburns should adopt her? Hats off to this wonderful couple for finding a way to help this beautiful animal!