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Good Samaritans rescue Denver couple’s dog from snowy cliff

A Denver couple celebrated last week after two Good Samaritans rescued their dog from a snowy Grand County mountainside after the pup spent the night out in the cold.

Ice climbers George Meres and Franklin Jacobs are being hailed as heroes after scaling a rocky ridge near Berthoud Pass Feb. 4 to rescue Yoshi, a shiba inu who became separated from his owner during a back-country ski trip the day before. Before becoming the chief beneficiary of Meres and Jacob’s heroics, though, Yoshi had to spend a night outdoors in what Grand County officials described as near blizzard conditions.

Brandon Fox was skiing through the area with Yoshi on Feb. 3 when man and beast became separated, Fox told Sky-Hi news last week. After hours of frantic searching, Fox spotted his dog perched high on a rocky ledge below a snowfield.

Fox’s girlfriend, Liat Arochas, joined him at the base of the ridge. Unable to reach the dog on their own, the two called for help. Grand County Search and Rescue, occupied with another assignment and concerned by the near white-out conditions at the time, declined to attempt a rescue that evening, Sky-Hi News reports. The couple had to leave Yoshi until the following day.

“We didn’t know if he would survive the night,” Arochas told Sky-Hi News. “It was so windy, it was snowing. When we got down to Georgetown we went to the police station and an officer said there was a cold front coming through that night. We looked at each other and we started crying.”

When they returned the next morning, the were greeted by Yoshi’s barks. The couple believes he made a burrow  to keep himself warm overnight.

Conditions on the mountainside, however, meant Yoshi was still in danger. With a steep cliff below him, the best way to reach the dog was to come down the mountain from above. But Grand County officials said the snowfield above him created too high an avalanche. They again declined to attempt a rescue, telling Sky-Hi News it was too dangerous.

“The worst part was, we could see him the whole time,” Arochas said of the rescue attempt being declined a second time. “We could see him looking down on us. It was like a death sentence for him.”

Remaining nearby in hopes someone could help, Arochas was eventually approached by Meres and Jacobs, who had their ice climbing gear in hand. The experienced climbers made their way up the cliff side to Yoshi, and, after several hours, brought him back down to his owners just before sunset on Feb. 4.

Arochas and Fox told Sky-Hi News that Yoshi escaped unscathed from his ordeal.

Before returning home to Denver that evening, the trio stopped in Idaho Springs for a celebratory dinner. The dog had chicken and french fries.

“It was an amazing feeling, having him back in our arms,” Arochas said. “It was a miracle.”

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