Hiker falls 500 feet; The Owners Dog Keeps Him Warm with Cuddles until they are Rescued

After keeping a wounded hiker warm and alive in the frigid Croatian highlands, a dog has been acclaimed a hero.

During a New Year’s weekend trek that resulted in an accident, North, an eight-month-old Alaskan Malamute puppy, stayed at his owner’s side. According to the Associated Press, Grga Brkic stumbled and plummeted 500 feet in Croatia’s Velebit mountain range, seriously hurting his leg. Brkic’s canine buddy survived the cold weather with him, resting on top of him to keep him safe and warm.

While North stayed with his owner, Brkic’s two companions notified rescuers to their pal who was stuck 5,905 feet above sea level.

In a Facebook post earlier this week, the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service — the crew behind Brkic’s ultimate rescue — posted details of the incident and its joyful ending, including a photo of the North defending his owner while he lay on a stretcher.

“Man and canine friendship and love know no bounds,” the rescue team noted in their Facebook post. “He [North] sat down next to him [Brkic] and warmed him with his body. His devotion did not wane… he guarded his man for 13 hours. We may all learn about caring for one another from this example.”

Brkic’s rescue took a team of 27 first responders, and it was difficult due to snow, ice, and damaged trees. Rescuers found it difficult to approach Brkic and his pet canine due to these factors. On Tuesday morning, the rescue squad was able to transfer the dog dad and North to the hospital.

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.