Plenty has been written about the loyalty of dogs and how they’ve saved or protected people—rescuing children in trouble, barking to rouse people during fires, or protecting their humans from wild animals, tame animals, or other humans. I’ve written on some of those themes here, and was once protected by my own faithful companion, who went above and beyond the call by fending off deer poachers coming after me with a cattle prod. Yikes! Perhaps a story for another time, but I have to say yet again … Good dog!
From all those life-saving adventures we hear about, dogs look pretty good and we seem pretty inept. That’s a scale we’ll probably never balance, for seldom are there remarkable stories in the reverse—of man rescuing dog. I guess dogs just don’t screw up as much as we do. But the friendship, love, and loyalty of the dog-human relationship is a two-way street. Dog-saves-man stuff is great, but that’s not how it always goes. Here’s a brief story I’m sure dogs out there will want to share with each other, just like we love sharing our dog stories.
The action took place in Essex County in 1876 at a place of striking beauty in the Minerva area: Moxham Mountain. Fifty-nine-year-old Joshua Loveland, a farmer from Thurman, about fifteen miles south, was hunting a fox on the mountain when, as a reporter described it, “his dog slid over a precipice about 100 feet in height, landing on a narrow shelf of rock, below which was another almost perpendicular descent of nearly 400 feet.”
The dog was trapped, and Loveland was forced to leave him/her there while he climbed down the mountain and secured rescue materials, gathering ropes from nearby residents as he explained the situation. Several of them, strangers to Loveland, accompanied him back up the mountain to assist. The anxiety and worry must have been HUGE! (Sorry … been watching too many presidential debates.)
Making up a long rope, he tied it to a tree and threw the rest down to be sure it reached the dog. Then he descended, tied the dog so his helpers above could pull it to safety, and afterward ascended in the same way with the help of his new friends. Betcha he and the dog had a heckuva reunion.
So beware, canines, we’re coming for you. The score now stands: Dogs, untold thousands, or millions; Humans, at least one.