Hiking in the mountains is a rigorous outdoor activity enjoyed by explorers worldwide. Not only does reaching the summit offer an incredible sense of simultaneous adventure and accomplishment, but the sights are undeniably beautiful, too! Still, not everyone is suited for it.
For some people—and even animals—trekking up a mountain can be incredibly dangerous. So when one man in Taiwan recently caught wind of an animal trapped atop a mountain, he knew that, despite his own inexperience, he just had to do something…
As a animal rescuer based in Taiwan, Seán McCormack was no stranger to dangerous days at the office. Nonetheless, what was asked of him recently was intense even by his standards…
Knowing Seán from his work as an independent rescuer, a woman recently reached out to him via Facebook to alert him of an animal in Taroko National Park that desperately needed his help.
While on a hiking trip, the woman had come across a severely malnourished dog in a small mountain village. The poor thing had taken up shelter in a large metal contraption outside a guest house. That wasn’t all that was concerning, though…
The woman also noticed the dog was missing one of his front paws, likely due to becoming stuck in a trap. Severe damage on the dog’s leg provided further evidence of one thing: he’d had a painful run-in with a snare.
Unfortunately, this was pretty common in the area. “There’s a big problem in Taiwan with traps and snares,” Seán explained. “Most of our rescues are dogs who have been maimed by one of these devices.”
Realizing time was of the essence, Seán agreed to help the dog. At first, he believed he’d be able to drive to the location in question. Unfortunately, this would-be rescuer was in for a rude awakening…
Sandy, as the dog was later named, wasn’t in a place that was accessible by vehicle! “The lady said, ‘It’s a six-hour hike,’ and I thought, ‘There must be a back road. There must be because there’s a guest house there. And Google Maps said I could drive there,'” Seán remembered.
But he was wrong—and he had to take the trip on foot. Though he was faced with a daunting 12-hour round-trip hike, Seán knew he had to stay true to his word and attempt to rescue the poor dog. There was no way he could live with himself if he didn’t give the poor thing a shot.
Knowing that it would be foolish to go alone, especially with his lack of hiking experience, Seán reached out to his friend Ross, who was the co-owner of a local trekking company called Taiwan Adventures.
Ross agreed it was smart for Seán to have reached out. “It’s a brutal hike,” he admitted. “It’s not one for beginners, and Seán was in the beginner category. He told me that he hadn’t done anything like that before.”
At that, the two men set forth on their journey. It was so rigorous that Seán contemplated giving up on numerous occasions. Meanwhile, Ross was preoccupied; he worried that someone in the village might be upset if the men took the dog. Nevertheless, they trekked on.
Thankfully, after six hours of rigorous hiking up steep and slick trails, Seán and Ross finally made it to the village where the dog had been spotted. Yet, the pooch was nowhere to be found!
“We looked in the outside kitchen area, but the dog wasn’t there,” Seán recalled. “We didn’t say anything to each other, but I know we were both thinking, ‘Oh crap.'” Were they too late?
But that was when the men noticed something move beneath a pile of chairs—it was the dog! “Once we saw him, we both just changed our attitudes again—I suddenly had a lot of energy, and Ross was going to get that dog out no matter who complained about it,” said Seán.
It was obvious how badly Sandy needed their help. Without so much as resting, the men decided to find a veterinarian as soon as possible. Of course, this required them to hike another six hours. So they packed the pup into a backpack and off they went!
The friends were astonished by how quiet Sandy remained during the entire hike. Finally, after six hours, they reached the trailhead, and they were able to bring the pooch to a veterinarian to be evaluated.
There, it was determined that Sandy’s wounds were severe enough that portions of his legs would have to be amputated. While tragic, Seán and Ross were relieved to learn that, after being fitted for prosthetics, Sandy would be all right otherwise!
“He’s doing amazingly well,” Seán said as Sandy recovered at his home. “He was just so happy. He immediately started playing with some of the younger dogs here, and he’s just a very sweet, happy dog.”
Luckily, when word of Sandy’s story spread, people immediately reached out in hopes of adopting him. And it wasn’t long before Seán settled on someone! Of course, Sandy’s new owner would have to wait until the pup was fully healed first.
In the meantime, both Seán and Ross were extremely proud of what they were able to do for Sandy. The rescue wasn’t easy, but they felt that the happy ending was more than worth it!
Seán and Ross went above and beyond to save Sandy’s life, and it’s a good thing they did. If it wasn’t for them, there’s no saying what could’ve happened to the poor dog!
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