Riley, an 8-year-old sheltie who had been missing for over five weeks after wandering away from his property, has finally been reunited with his owner, Mike Krugman.
Riley’s owner, Krugman, expressed his relief and shared the sentimental connection between Riley and his late wife. “He was my wife’s dog, so he always sleeps on her pillow. She passed away in January,” Krugman said.
Despite having a fenced-in property with a 5-foot-tall fence, Riley managed to escape on April 8 during heavy snowfall. Krugman explained, “We got a lot of snow that day; sure enough, I walked to the far south side of our property, and we didn’t have a fence; it was 100% covered in snow. So I’m assuming Riley walked over the fence and kept walking.”
Krugman sought assistance from Summit Lost Pet Rescue in his search for Riley. As weeks passed with diminishing hope, he received an unexpected call from the Humane Society of Summit County, bringing a miracle. “Then five weeks and a day later I get a call from the shelter; somebody found him,” Krugman shared with relief.
Zachary Hackett, a hiker who recently moved to Summit County, inadvertently stumbled upon Riley during a hike on May 14. Hackett explained that he was supposed to be on a different trail but encountered obstacles due to recent heavy moisture. He recounted how he heard a faint sound that turned out to be Riley’s yip, surprising him as dogs shouldn’t have been in that area. Concerned for the weakened dog, Hackett carefully carried Riley for 4 miles, navigating challenging terrain and even crossing the swift Blue River.
The tremendous journey took them from an elevation of 12,000 feet down to 8,200 feet, where Krugman resides. Riley’s condition was critical, having lost around half of his weight. However, Krugman marveled at the resilience displayed by his furry companion. “He traveled 4 miles and up. We live at 8,200 feet, and he was found at 12,000 feet,” he shared.
After spending the night with Hackett and his girlfriend, who were prepared to rush him to an emergency vet, Riley was taken to the Humane Society of Summit County. Krugman then retrieved Riley and brought him to the vet, receiving three-day medical care, including intravenous treatment.
Riley’s remarkable survival story, forged through the connection of two strangers, serves as a testament to the resilience and, as Krugman suggests, the watchful eye of his late wife.