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geogia little pea

My first response is that the original owner shouldn't get Missy back. I can (I guess) understand why he left her. I can't understand why he made no attempt to go back for her. I'm pretty sure his boss would have been okay if he'd taken a couple of days off work. Something not quite right about this story.

Karen Friesecke

I was pretty annoyed by this story. *Why* wouldn't Ortolani put boots on Missy if the terrain was so extreme? Why not just leave her at home that day? Like GLP said, I'm sure his boss would have understood him taking off a day or two off work to go back an get the dog. He should not get his dog back.

Joe Seiger

It took eight mountain climbers risking life and limb to carry her out. How is he going to carry her out by himself even if he goes back up there?

Married with Dawgs

I can't understand how anyone could leave their dog like that. I would go to the ends of the earth for my dogs and apparently, there are some amazing strangers willing to do the same for a dog they don't know. Bless them!!

I hope the courts rule that he abandoned her and therefore, has no legitimate claim to her at this point.


While I can understand taking your dog on a hike, I can't understand taking your dog on a hike on a 14,000 foot peak without adequate preparations (booties on the feet, etc.)

These STRANGERS 1. found the dog 2. had to leave the dog as well 3. gathered a party to retrieve this dog.

The original owner could have reached out to anybody, and did not. He just shrugged and said "lol, gotta go to work" and went on with his life. Now that somebody else did all the work that he should have been more than willing to expend, he wants his dog back.

Sherry in MT

One of the things many of our dog friends here that hike with their dogs talk about is what will you do if your DOG can't make it out. Many have opted for hiking different trails as well as now in our "older years" hiking with partners that aren't as large in case you have to get them out. You are responsible for what you've taken them into. If this guy didn't bother to get help to go get his dog out immediately upon his return then he doesn't deserve to have her back! Period.

Sherry in MT

Oh yeah and why would you continue hiking up a mountain if your dog had blisters on her feet and was in pain?!

Jen @MyBrownNewfies

I can understand that the man had to leave the dog there in those circumstances, but to not come back for her or even mention that he left the dog there is just not acceptable.


He absolutely DOES not deserve to have that dog back. He LEFT HER TO DIE - alone, frightened, starving and dying of thirst. He did NOT go back for her. Complete strangers left her WITH FOOD AND WATER - then quickly organized a party to save her. He had to leave town for his JOB? BS. If the Coruts give her back it is a HUGE miscarriage of justice...


I think he did not do enough to try and rescue his dog (never mind the questions raised regarding taking the dog on that kind of hike to begin with.) I understand he may have had flights to leave for work or what not, but he should have tried.

I can't imagine a circumstance where I would leave my dog behind and NOT go back for him/her. As I am small and walk with larger dogs I do everything I can to insure there are no injuries on our walks. Should the worse case happen, I will do whatever I need to to bring them out.


I don't think he should get his dog back...he really left her for dead and proceeded on with his life. You can NOT believe how many dogs are left...breaks my heart. I volunteer at the local shelter and most of the dogs there are abandoned...NO DO NOT LET HIM GET THE DOG BACK!!!



I have no sympathy for Missy's owner and I don't accept his feeble excuses. If two perfect strangers could utilize the power of the internet and find a way to rescue this poor dog, her owner could have tried too. The dog should be given to a CARING person who wouldn't put the dog in danger in the first place, who would react to serious situations like this as he/she would for his own family member, and who would be equipped with the right protection and first aid for the dog when taking her anywhere unusual. There's just no excuse for this guy.


There is no way I would ever just leave my dog on the side of the mountain and return to life as normal. Even if I was forced to leave her to help someone else, I would be calling everyone I knew and would be back up on that mountain right away. I'd live there with her myself if I had to but I wouldn't just leave her there to die. My boss could fire me, I wouldn't care about anything but getting my dog to safety. Maybe that's not normal but it's what I feel a dog deserves. I wouldn't leave anyone I loved on the side of a mountain, especially not a member of my family.

That said, I think what the Washburns and their mountain climbing group did was wonderful. It's an incredible rescue story. There need to be more people in the world like them.

Donna and the Dogs

Whether right or wrong about leaving the dog, the bottom line is he didn't make ANY attempt to get help for the dog. The dog should definitely be placed with new owners.



Friar Don

Some of the commentators here have stated that he did nothing to try to get the dog back. He actually did try numerous times to get help, but was turned down, numerous times. In at least one case he offered a reward for the help, but again was turned down. I'm not sure I would have thought of going to the Internet asking for help myself, and I have a PhD in computers...

There is also negative commentary against him for not having shod his pup (all dogs are puppies to me!), and while you all may be avid animal people, he may not even have known such things exist! Dogs live in environments like that all the time, without shoes/mittens on. He may have not realized that his puppy needed such things if they were not use to it.

We don't know enough about the history or training of the man and dog to know if it was out of their realm to be in that environment.

Then there are complaints about him not leaving his job responsibilities to go get his dog back. I work for the US Federal Government. I would have been AWOL (Absent With Out Leave) and fired if I had stayed to try to get my dog back. We don't know, and were not told what his job was and what he had to do. Please, let us not judge him for this. Some jobs you can't just call in off of at any need.

We don't know how heart broken he may have been, or in what pain he may have been in leaving his puppy behind. I think he should help pay for what was done, but I also feel he should have his puppy back.

Friar Don, OBR


I'm not going to hop into the should he or shouldn't he get his dog back debate. But I am very interested in what this case could mean for animal rights.

Traditionally, dogs are seen as property. I'd expect that 5 years ago, Ortalani would have gotten the dog back with no question. But now he's charged with animal cruelty. It's a sign that things are changing. And this case will have an effect on future court decisions.


That is an excellent point. I was just starting to write a post on that but now I don't have to.

Under traditional law Missy was a car abandoned in the mountains. If someone went to a great deal of trouble to bring the car down, it would still belong to the owner. There are no laws about cruelty to automobiles. Hopefully in October a distinction will be made between property and sentient creatures when this comes to court.

However, media reports are quite biased at this time against the owner. So it will be interesting to follow the case in court when it all comes to light.

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