Hiker adopts injured dog she carried down 11,000-foot mountain

A woman in Idaho has given a dog named Boomer the happily ever after he deserves, by adopting him into her family after rescuing and carrying the lost and injured 55-pound pup down a 11,106-foot mountain.

Last month, Tia Vargas of Idaho Falls was hiking down from the peak of Table Rock Trail near Grand Teton National Park en route to meet her father, Ted Kasper, when she stumbled upon an alarming sight: an English springer spaniel struggling and limping to keep up with a pack of hikers, who were searching for the dog’s owner, People reports.

Vargas and her father, Ted Kasper, were out for a hike when they found the injured pup.  (Tia Vargas)

“They asked if he was mine and said that they’d seen a note at the bottom of the trail mentioning that somebody had lost their dog,” 40-year-old Vargas recalled. “The tag on his collar said his name was Boomer, and I could see that he was hurt. The other hikers wanted to get to the top of the mountain, so I decided right then, 'OK, Boomer, I’ll help you.'”


Vargas soon realized, however, that Boomer was in such bad shape that he couldn’t make the six mile trek on his own.

"If I didn’t get him off the mountain, I knew that he would die.”  (Tia Vargas)

"His eyes were super puffy and bloodshot. His body was swollen, even his bum was very, very swollen,” the single mom of three told ABC News. “And you could tell he was very dehydrated. He had cuts and scratches on his belly and on his head. He was in bad condition."

Without a second thought, Vargas lifted the pup onto her shoulders, and continued on her way.

"I felt the difficulty of it right away. I never felt 55 pounds like that before,” she told Mother Nature Network. Fortunately, she soon found Kasper, her father, whose sense of humor reenergized her.

"Dad laughed and said, 'Isn’t this hike hard enough? You have to carry a dog too?'” Vargas told the outlet. "My dad makes me laugh. He is such a great man."

Now, Boomer has found his happily ever after - and his forever home - with Vargas and her family.  (Tia Vargas)

Though the father-daughter duo were determined to get Boomer down the mountain safely, the task would prove to be difficult — and then it started to rain.

"We got lost twice. We couldn't find the trail. And at one point we had river on both sides of us, and that's about when my legs were done,” she told ABC. “We were walking through brush and thicket and it was scratching our legs. It started to rain and I put Boomer down on a rock and I laid on his belly and I was just done."

Again, her dad’s levity and support empowered Vargas to continue on, telling her a joke that made her laugh and gave her perspective.

“I said a little prayer and I picked up Boomer and it literally felt like someone had walked up behind me and lifted the weight off my shoulders,” she said.

Over six hours later, around 6 p.m., Vargas and Kasper made it down the mountain, and found a sign that Boomer’s owners had left for the missing pup. Contacting the family, the pair soon learned that Boomer’s people had lost the dog while hiking up Table Rock Mountain on July 4, where he “wandered off and fell 100 feet down a snowy crevice,” People reports.


Thrilled to learn that their dog was alive and touched by Vargas’ act, they offered to let her adopt Boomer, as they will soon be moving to Arizona, according to Mother Nature Network. Vargas and her kids were overjoyed to accept.

In the weeks since, Vargas has set up a Facebook page for her new “miracle dog” where she posts updates and stories about how Boomer is doing as he recovers from the injuries sustained that fateful night on the trail. 

“Boomer is part of our family now,” the supermom told People. “I feel like there’s a reason why I was on the mountain at the very moment that he needed somebody to help. Both of us had a guardian angel that day.”

Janine Puhak is an editor for Fox News Lifestyle. Follow her on Twitter at @JaninePuhak