It’s the kind of Colorado story that usually does not have a happy ending. This one does, which makes it so special. 

After 5 weeks, Mike Krugman said he had all but given up hope that his dog, Riley, was going to come home alive. He said the dog simply never came back after he let him out for dinner April 8. 

“The next morning I got on my snowshoes because we had just had a big dump of snow and started looking and discovered on the south end of the property, the fence wasn’t there anymore,” Krugman said. 

He worked with the Summit Lost Pet Rescue, a local organization to try and track down his dog, but with no luck (a rare occurrence for the organization with an incredible success rate.)

Mike assumed his dog was now likely a meal for one of the many animals in Summit County, seeing as he believes a fox is bigger than Riley. 

“We had mountain lions over on Peak Seven move in this direction, we’ve got coyotes on this mountain,” Krugman explained.

Riley is one tough pup though. 

In the map, red is believed to be Riley’s path, green is Hackett’s path Zach Hackett

Around May 14, Zach Hackett had decided to explore his new “backyard” after recently moving into Breckenridge. His hike took him across the Blue River and towards the backwoods of Frisco, until he hit the summit, and heard a small “yip.” It was Riley, plopped under a tree, not moving. 

“I realized very quickly, uh, that he was not supposed to be up there,” Hackett said. 

After carefully approaching the dog, Zach was able to scoop up the dog in his windbreaker and start the long trip down. 

“I just kept giving him comforting words the whole way down,” Hackett said. 

Hackett made it back down the muddy unmarked trail and across the river in the dark, saying he only slipped once (and took the brunt of the fall).

He took Riley home for a bath, some food, and then took him to a shelter in the morning. The Summit Lost Pet Rescue was able to get in touch with Krugman and get them reunited.

It’s especially important this dog came home as it was one of the biggest ties Krugman has to his late wife Pam, who passed earlier this year. 

“This was my wife’s dog, and she slept with him every night,” Krugman said. 

Mike Krugman

“Everyone was telling me ‘maybe she needed somebody with her,’ and so that’s why.” 

“Then it’s like ‘maybe she watched over him and got him back home safe. But that would be Zack’s job to bring him home safely,” Krugman laughed. 

“I can’t thank Zach.”

Krugman said he has ordered a GPS locator watch to make sure Riley never goes too far again, and Hackett has started his own pet boarding business under the name “Riley’s Retreat.”


Original Article