Colorado Dog Taz Saves Injured Guardian from Freezing to Death

 |  Dec 21st 2006  |   0 Contributions


Great job Taz! As I've said before, if you're going to get lost or injured, do it with a dog!

This sounds like a great basis for a movie! Any Hollywood types listening?

Thanks to the Chicago Sun-Times for this bracing article!

Dog helped save triathlete from death

BY BRIAN METZLER

A prominent Colorado adventure athlete can thank her dog and a rescue team for saving her life after she fell and injured herself while running and spent two nights in freezing weather.


Danelle Ballengee, 35, underwent surgery Tuesday at Denver Health Medical Center to repair a broken pelvis suffered while running with her dog last week near the Amasa Back Trail south of Moab, Utah.

She also is recovering from severe frostbite on her feet, internal bleeding and numerous cuts and bruises.

The two-time adventure racing world champion and triathlete, trail runner and mountain biker slipped on a patch of ice and tumbled off three successive rock faces of 10 to 20 feet each.

'Just happy to be alive'

A Grand County (Utah) rescue team found Ballengee two days later after her dog, Taz, a 3-year-old German shepherd-golden retriever mix, led rescuers on a five-mile journey.

''I'm just happy to be alive,'' she said. ''I thought about my family and my friends and everything I do, and I just kept saying to myself, 'I can't die. I'm not ready to die.' But it would have been so easy to relax and curl up and die.''

Ballengee left for what she thought would be a casual trail run in the 40-degree weather. She was wearing light running pants, two lightweight shirts and a fleece top.

After the fall, Ballengee crawled on her hands and knees to try to find help. During the night, she did sit-ups and kept her upper body moving to keep warm. She drank from a puddle and ate two packets of raspberry energy gel.

On the first night of Ballengee's ordeal, Taz slept with his head on her stomach, but the second night he was hesitant to get near her.

''The first night I couldn't really cuddle with him because I had to stay on my back, but he cuddled next to me and helped keep me warm,'' Ballengee said. ''But the second night he either got mad or he got a plan in his head. Either way, I just can't wait to give him a big hug.''

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