Discussion: Missy the Dog left on the Mountain - your thoughts?

If you haven't already heard the story of Missy, the german shepard who was left on the summit of a mountain in Colorado by her owner after injuring her paws on the ascent, you should, especially if you hike with your dog.

The story can't help but pull on your heartstrings, Missy was left alone and injured on the summit of the mountain.  Hikers found her, treated her wounds, went down and mounted a rescue operation and successfully got Missy down the mountain and treated.

Then the owner comes forward and wants the dog back.  He had left her there because she was injured, a storm was approaching and he had a young climber with him that he wanted to get down safely.  Missy isn't a small german shepard either, so some sort of triage would have been understandable.

However, like the rescuers said "we understand that he had to leave her there. My wife and I did the same thing. But we ended up going back for her, and we went to some pretty extreme lengths to do so. In my opinion, that is not a responsible dog owner, who doesn’t really care about her."

I just can't imagine leaving my dog to die on the top of a mountain.  She was alone, cold, injured and slowly dying from exposure and dehydration.  I know for me personally, I would have gone back up that mountain as soon as I got the other climber to safety to rescue my dog, who is as much a part of any hiking or climbing party as anyone else that hikes or climbs with me.

Some links to the news stories if you missed them:

What do you think?  Did the owner give up their rights when they left Missy on top of the mountain? Should he get her back?  What kind of lessons can we take away from this?

9-21-2012 Update - The owner has relinquished custody of Missy


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