Dakota is a three-year-old German Shepherd mix who lives with her family in California. She was adopted by James Muldoon when she was three months old and lived faithfully by his side until his death. James named her after North Dakota, where he was previously stationed with the Air Force. James loved his dog so much, that he would have laid down his life for her. Last August, James was riding his motorcycle when he was hit by a car that had run a red light. Eight days after the accident, James passed away in the hospital.
Connie and Warren Muldoon had promised their son, James, prior to the collision that if anything ever happened to him, they would take care of his beloved Dakota. They took their promise very seriously, and they took Dakota in after the loss of their son. The three all helped each other through the loss of James, and they all bonded closely.
Warren and Dakota became very close after the loss of James and spent almost every minute together. The two loved to go on long walks, runs, and hikes. The pair had summited Mount Baldy many times in the past, but on one fateful hike in January, things did not go as smoothly as they had before.
Warren and Dakota made it to the top of the mountain with no problem, even though the mountain was covered in deep snow. On the descent though, the wind had blown snow across their tracks and the trail, leaving the pair with no idea of the right way down. Warren took a wrong turn and decided to follow the sounds of running water in the hopes they’d find a safe way down the mountain. Warren and Dakota fell down two waterfalls together, Dakota managed to save herself from falling further while Warren fell down one more waterfall without her.
Warren suffered a broken leg, five broken ribs, and a punctured lung. His phone was smashed in the fall and he was unable to call for help. Luckily for him, another group of hikers spotted him and called for a rescue. When the helicopter arrived and airlifted him, he begged the pilot to rescue Dakota too. The pilot was forced to leave Dakota behind because Warren was hypothermic and they were worried he wouldn’t survive if they didn’t get him to a hospital fast.
Connie sent out a plea on Facebook for help finding their beloved dog, and word spread quickly about the dog’s predicament. Hikers and dog lovers leaped into action and began the search for Dakota. Luckily, Dakota was soon found by rescuers and she was rushed to a veterinarian where they saw just how lucky this pooch was - she suffered only bruises, dehydration, and a cut hind paw.
When Dakota returned to her home, Warren was still in the hospital. Warren had bleeding in his chest that had prevented him from being discharged. Dakota was restless and acting unlike herself, as she wondered where her hiking companion had gone. Connie got special permission, and Warren and Dakota were able to have a truly beautiful reunion at the hospital. Watch it, below.