Dog separated from his owner last summer after California fires found by a backcountry skier

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In South Lake Tahoe, California, a dog separated from his owner last summer as the Northern California wildfires raged was found by a backcountry skier in December.

According to the Tahoe PAWS a Community Animal Response Team, Russ, a pit bull terrier had fled from his owner’s vehicle late in August 2021 as the Caldor Fire spread. The owner had to evacuate because of the fire, and although she searched everywhere for her dog, she later reported the dog missing.

It was assumed that Russ had been lost for good.

TLC 4 Furry Friends Facebook

According to APNews, on December 16, a woman skiing spotted the dog and posted photos online.

And subsequently, animal tracker Leona Allen and her partner Elsa Gaule went to the area where the dog was spotted, found him and brought him down the mountain on a sled. Surprisingly the dog was healthy and has since been reunited with his family.

Wendy called upon TLC 4 Furry Friends & Tahoe PAWS volunteers, who suited up with snowshoes, dog rescue equipment, and a sled from Officer Shumaker. The dog was tracked up the mountain, and finally located under a tree not moving. The volunteers were elated when he opened his eyes and lifted his head.
They were able to place him on the sled – on top of a volunteer so he was kept warm and calm. Since it was dark, the trek down the mountain was slow and methodical.


He was immediately turned over to Officer Shumaker who took him to a veterinarian, to make sure he was healthy. Animal Services Officers were able to find a microchip in the dog and tracked him down to his owner in Riverside County.

Never give up hope!

If you are interested in volunteering with TLC 4 Furry Friends (animal search and rescue) or Tahoe PAWS – a Community Animal Response Team (disaster/emergency response), please contact Wendy Jones at 775-721-3647 (DOGS) or [email protected].

Donations may be made at
Tahoe PAWS
PO Box 8292
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96158.
Venmo or Paypal @tahoepaws

Follow the National Pet Rescue on Facebook for the latest animal related news.

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