A selfless woman rescued an injured dog from a mountaintop, carrying the pooch down the rocky incline for six-and-a-half hours through snow, debris and heavy rainfall.
She set out to climb the mountain twice in one day, in an act of solidarity to support her son, Porter, who was recovering from mental health struggles at a wellness camp. However, she didn’t realise that her biggest test of the day would come in the form of an injured dog.
Tia Vargas was trudging her way up the final strides of the 3385-metre summit of Table Rock, Idaho, when she spotted an English springer spaniel limping alongside two hikers, who were desperately searching for the dog’s owner.
The 40-year-old single mother of three hoisted the ailing canine over her shoulders and carried him back down the mountainside for a staggering six-and-a-half-hours, navigating her way across snow, debris and heavy rainfall, on July 5.
“I put him over my shoulders and carried him down the mountain for six-and-a-half hours, when usually the entire trip would only take me four,” she said.
“Physically, my legs were shaking, my neck was hurting and I was exhausted, but I kept going.”
Hiking alongside her father, Ted Kasper, 76, the pair gave up all of their food to four-year-old Boomer in a bid to give him the strength to last the journey down.
“Boomer’s eyes were bloodshot and swollen, he was dehydrated and his body was scratched all over,” Ms Vargas said.
“He couldn’t walk on his left leg at all, he just wanted to lay down. He had very little left in him and I knew he wouldn’t be walking down the mountain.”
Incredibly, Boomer had fallen down a 30-metre crevasse the day before and was presumed dead, his owners told Ms Vargas when she contacted them at the bottom of the mountain.
Rescuer and pooch together forever
Boomer was set to be put up for adoption the day after he went missing, so Tia asked the family if she could adopt him and is now the proud owner of the pooch.
“The hikers [at the top of the mountain] asked if Boomer was mine and that they’d seen a note at the bottom of the mountain mentioning someone had lost their dog.
“I knew instantly that this was my real trial, that I was meant to meet Boomer. I didn’t hesitate in offering to help him.
“As I was carrying Boomer, I thought about Porter and how to he was lost, and injured, and how I wanted to help him find himself again and mend.”
Her son Porter, 17, identified Boomer as his kindred spirit and told his mother that the dog’s story has made him “excited for life” once again.
“Boomer has bought nothing but sunshine into our lives since he arrived in it,” Ms Vargas said.
“I knew the second I picked him up that he was the new love of my life. A part of our family, a perfect fit for our home,”
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“[Since the rescue] Porter’s now looking forward to the future again, about going to college, starting a family. It’s amazing.
“He had one short but sweet meeting with him, and now he can’t wait to be back with Boomer.
“Boomer has lifted our spirits after so many hardships. Life before him was not nearly as fun.”