ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) – And it was not a Saint Bernard.
Croatian rescuers praise a dog that protected its wounded owner from freezing high on a snow-capped mountain and kept him warm for 13 hours in the dark until he could get medical attention.
“Friendship and love between man and dog know no bounds,” the county’s mountain rescue service wrote on Twitter Tuesday with a picture of the dog lying on top of its master on a stretcher.
The accident occurred late January 1, more than 1,700 meters (5,600 feet) up Velebit Mountain, which stretches along Croatia’s Adriatic coast. Rescuers say both man and dog – an Alaskan Malamute called North – slipped and fell about 150 meters (500 feet).
The hiker seriously injured his leg, but the dog was not injured and used his body heat to keep him warm as the temperature dropped after nightfall and rescuers struggled to find them.
“(North) curled up next to him and warmed him with his body,” it read in the rescue service’s post. “His loyalty did not stop, even when the rescuers came, he was one of us guarding her husband for 13 hours.”
Rescuers said the operation overnight was particularly difficult due to snow, ice and broken tree branches blocking access to the site. A team of 27 participated in the rescue, reached the couple around midnight and handed the hiker over to doctors around noon. 8 Tuesday.
“This example could teach us all how to care for each other,” the rescuers said.