Riverside, CA, resident Ramon Llamas and his dog, Mole, regularly hike on Mount Rubidoux in Riverside County. It’s their routine, three to four times a week, according to KABC-TV. Mole likes to scramble off the trail on his own and check things out.
But this time, Mole found a hiker who had been trapped for four to six days, without food, and far enough from the paved portion of trail that nobody could hear his cries for help. The trail receives a constant stream of hikers, some with baby strollers, out for daily exercise, but they were all out of range.
“[Mole] likes to go look in the rocks and he kind of pulled me over, pulling and crying and I said, ‘What’s going on boy?'” Llamas said.
Llamas followed his dog warily. He thought Mole might have found a coyote lurking in the outcropping of rocks, or some other danger. He approached slowly. He peered in. He saw a pair of eyes. Llamas asked if the man needed help. The man definitely needed help.
“He said, ‘I need water, please don’t leave me.’ So I gave him water from my backpack and in a minute he said, ‘You got more?’ So I give more water,” Llamas said.
Llamas got some other hikers and they called 911. Firefighters with the Riverside Fire Department’s Technical Rescue Team made their way to the location and rescued the man.
“He was severely dehydrated. He was conscious. We were able to talk to him, but we could not fully get all the information out of him,” said Riverside Fire Capt. Bruce Vanderhorst. “He was slightly confused with his timeline of events.”
“In talking to him, he came up here during the night time,” said Vanderhorst. “So we think he was unaware of his footing, slipped in between some rocks and slid down to the location where he was.”
“He was almost in a standing position wedged down,” said another firefighter. “He actually got really deep down inside. It’s a good thing that the dog located the victim.”
The man was very disoriented but is being treated for dehydration at a local hospital and is expected to be fine. The fire captain said that if another day or so had passed, he would have died.
It bears mentioning that Mole, the hero dog, is himself a rescue.