A hiker will be forever thankful he brought his dog along with him for a walk in the Croatian mountains.
Metro reports that North, the eight-month-old Alaskan Malamute, sprung into action when Grga Brkic fell while climbing down a slope in the Velebit mountain range.
Two other hikers couldn’t reach Mr Brkic, who fractured his leg and ankle, and doubled back down the mountain to find a search party.
Some 13 hours later, a team of 30 rescuers found the dog curled up on top of his owner, nearly 1,800 metres above sea level. North managed to keep him warm in the freezing conditions, stopping him from succumbing to hypothermia.
The dog was unharmed but Mr Brkic was rushed to hospital for surgery. He said the minutes before the rescue team arrived ‘were so slow’ and called North a ‘real miracle’.
Croatia’s mountain rescue service shared a picture of North laying on the injured hiker in a stretcher.
‘Friendship and love between man and dog have no boundaries,’ the rescuers wrote. They added: ’From this example we can all learn about caring for one another.’
All three hikers were reportedly experienced mountaineers and had all the necessary equipment.
Despite North’s heroics, the rescue service warned hikers not to take dogs out in difficult conditions during winter.
Josip Brozičević, head of the mountain rescue service, said: ‘The dog was curled up next to the owner in the pit the entire time. ‘He warmed his owner with his body, preventing the mountaineer’s significant hypothermia who suffered a severe fracture of the lower leg and ankle when he fell.’
(Story source: Metro)