Rescue dog wanders home after triggering avalanche in Grand County |

Rescue dog wanders home after triggering avalanche in Grand County

Aspen Times Staff Report
Aspen, CO Colorado
Grand County Search and Rescue personnel look for a rescue dog that was caught in an avalanche Tuesday. The dog was already safe at home. (Greg Foley)

GRAND COUNTY, Colo. ” Grand County Search and Rescue personnel probed furiously to rescue one of their own after an avalanche Tuesday evening, but the supposedly buried team member had already headed home.

Monkey, a trained search and rescue dog, was walking in the Hurd Creek area east of Tabernash with rescue team member Jenny Beltman when the dog bounded ahead and up a steep hillside, triggering a 100-foot-wide avalanche that came down across the road, according to a report in Wednesday’s Ski-Hi Daily News.

Beltman said she saw Monkey swept down the slope, but lost sight of the dog near the bottom and, when she couldn’t find the pooch, assumed it had been buried, according to the Ski-Hi report. More than 25 rescuers searched for the dog in the darkness for more than an hour; one man even brought a Bobcat excavator to help dig through the snow.

Beltman was told to go home, a short walk away. She found Monkey, apparently unharmed, on the doorstep when she arrived.

“We normally don’t find live avalanche victims, so it’s always good to find one alive,” incident commander Greg Foley told the News. “This incident was a tough one to manage because so many people were arriving to help with the search. But it turned out to be good training for all of us at Search and Rescue.”