UPDATE: Owner of Missy, dog left stranded on a Colorado mountain, has agreed to give her to one of her rescuers.

Life With Dogs is reader-supported. We may earn a small commission through products purchased using links on this page.

Missy being rescued by volunteers

Anthony Ortolani left his 5-year-old German Shepherd/Rottweiler mix, Missy, behind at 13,000 feet when he was hiking between Mount Bierstadt and Mount Evans in Colorado. Missy survived for 8 days before being rescued by a group of volunteer rescuers. When she was found she was severely dehydrated and in bad shape.

Ortolani was hiking with his friend’s 19-year-old son when bad weather started to move in. Missy’s feet had become blistered and she was unable to walk. The two men tried carrying Missy for over two hours. With both men becoming fatigued and Missy fighting being carried, the two men made the decision to leave her. Ortolani called Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office when he made it down the mountain, but was told it was too dangerous for an animal rescue. Ortolani says that the climb had been Missy’s sixth successful summit and she’d never had problems previously.

Thanks to Scott Washburn and his wife, who first spotted Missy stranded on the mountain, Missy was successfully rescued 8 days later. Scott and his wife organized a group of experienced hikers to bring Missy down to safety.

Since the story broke of Missy’s rescue by this group of volunteer hikers, Ortolani has received death threats and nasty messages. Ortolani was charged with animal cruelty and will plead guilty to a less-serious violation of a Clear Creek County ordinance.

Ortalani has agreed to give Missy to one of the rescuers. Since her rescue Missy has been in a kennel as the case against Ortolani has been ongoing. He has not been able to see her. Ortaloni doesn’t want her to sit in a kennel and said, “I don’t want to give her up – I love her – but those people risked life and limb to get her out of there, and that has got to be worth something.”

17 thoughts on “UPDATE: Owner of Missy, dog left stranded on a Colorado mountain, has agreed to give her to one of her rescuers.”

  1. I myself have a shepard/rottie mix. I can tell you just how lovable and loyal they can be… Any dog is to their owner! I would die for my fur babies! Im so happy the rescuers get to keep her <3

  2. Today all 8 of the rescuers were on the Ellen show & one guy that already has 2 German Shepard’s is adopting her. She will live the good life…THE PREVIOUS “OWNER” NO LONGER MATTERS!!!!
    …He made his decision when he abandoned her on the mountain, which she shouldn’t have been on anyway..
    She is now called Lucky!!

  3. What idiot takes his dog hiking with the proper gear for his pet? Of course, the dog’s paws are going to blister and cause pain. That is why there are paw booties for a hiking dog. The previous owner was selfish and only worried about himself. Great lesson he also taught the friend’s son……anything in life is disposable. We as adults teach by example, this guy just failed miserably. Thank goodness the dog isn’t going back to him!

  4. People give this guy so much grief. Not only was he having to care for himself but a FIRENDS son. I can see it now. “oh sorry we didnt come home for 8 days, I had to sit with my dog. i couldn’t just leave her.” Yes, it is an animal and family, but that doesn’t mean risk you life and someone else’s for an Animal. I love my dog and would do anything for her. Honestly, I’d rather have a dead dog on my hands than my friends dead teen. She got rescued, he made that happen. If he was as terrible as you all made him out to be, then he would have gone home and not tried to do anything at all. He could have thrown his hands in the air and said “oh well”. Give the poor guy a break, not only did he have to make that terrible decisions, but now he’s facing charges for it and lost his pet. I know most of you like animals more than other human beings, but this is another animals lover. Have some compassion.

    • Lana – he so deserves it and more. Jail time I think. His response (abandonment and not resolving the situation) is an act of utmost negligence. We get that he couldn’t get the dog down. We don’t get that he didn’t facilitate the rescue.

  5. …whatever…..i first read about this when it happened and only now am hearing he tried to carry the dog out and even made a call to try to rescue her..ok…so what?..still doesn’t change one damn thing .. seriously now…this guy made all of 1, count it , ONE attempt at trying to have him rescued when he finally got back down off that mountain…if that’ve been my dog and i’d had been refused help in rescuing my dog i’d have made so much noise about it someone would have heard about it and helped…certainly an animal rescue centre would have helped…and what was wrong with his ass going back up there the next day and resuming the attempt?..he could’ve easily brought food for his dog and carried him again perhaps getting him off the mountain or gone back with perhaps another friend such as the friend who’s kid he’d taken there earlier…for me the guys an idiot and shouldn’t have taken a dog somewhere where there was a chance he’s have to be left behind.. sorry but for me this guy deserves to not have his dog back…the dog deserves better than a guy who made one attempt to have him rescued and then did nothing…for all you know his version of events is bullshit…are we to expect this guy would say he just left her? i’d me more inclined to believe him if his friends 19yr kid came forward and collaborated his story ..he’s says he loves her but didn’t even return for even one more try…not a one..sorry the guys get and deserves no break form me and shouldn’t from you either

  6. He did not make her rescue happen. He made a phone call or two to the sheriff’s department and another authority, both of whom told him they could not send a team to rescue a dog. Then he lurked for DAYS on the 14ers.com website/forum and when he saw someone had found and rescued her, THEN he came forward and wanted to get his dog back. Had he posted on that site the night it happened asking for help to go get her, I bet he would have had dozens at least, if not hundreds, of climbers willing to help. And he would have been reunited with his dog and none of this moral discussion would be happening. Instead he gave her up for dead (by his own admission) without even trying other avenues(never mind trying to go back for her himself) and once she was found, and subsequently rescued by a group of climbers THEN he jumped in to say hey that’s my dog and I’ll pay the vet bill and I want her back. That chain of posts is no longer on the 14ers website, but oh did he get slammed. I actually felt sorry for him a little…but then realized once the members of that site were alerted to the dog (spotted by other climbers 7 days after her abandonment) several of them mobilized right away and went up after her and saved her. Why oh why did he not ask for their help from the beginning. That is what has caused him to lose her – his complete inaction and apparent willingness to leave her to die a slow agonizing death. I do not necessarily think he is a horrible person from what I read – but he certainly made some really bad decisions in this case and I hope he has learned from it. Really glad that Missy/Lucky is out of the kennel and in a loving home.


Leave a Comment