North, an Alaskan Malamute who is still a puppy at eight months old, is already a hero. Grga Brki, the dog parent, is still alive to tell the story of love and rescue that came at the paws of his closest friend, thanks to this brave doggie.
Today, the two are safe and well, but without North, Grga may have perished in the woods when a hiking excursion went awry.
The two had gone climbing in the Velebit mountain range, which rises 5,900 feet above Croatia’s Adriatic coast and is part of the Dinaric Alps. It is Croatia’s highest mountain range, with harsh terrains of snow, ice, and rock that make it difficult even for experienced hikers.
Grga fell about 500 feet down one of the slopes while climbing from the highest summit, resulting in a severely broken leg and ankle. North never left his master’s side, even though they were stuck for hours awaiting rescue.
When North saw his injured dad in pain and suffering, he snuggled up over him to keep him warm and safe from the snow until help arrived. The two were in danger together until a couple of hikers discovered them and called emergency services.
Croatia’s mountain rescue service, Hrvatska Gorska Sluba Spaavanja (HGSS), came on the scene to discover the two huddled together against the weather.
“The dog remained curled up close to the owner in the pit the entire time; he warmed his owner with his body, thereby preventing the mountaineer’s substantial hypothermia who suffered a terrible fracture of the lower leg and ankle when he fell,” Josip Brozievi, head of HGSS in Gospi, told Total Croatia News.
Their rescue was difficult, requiring 27 rescuers from separate HGSS units. After a hard 13-hour operation, the crew successfully rescued Grga from the mountain, saving his life. North refused to leave Grga’s side during their job, even when they put him on a stretcher and started moving him.
“The minutes and seconds until they arrived were so slow,” Grga said, but thanks to North, he’s still alive to tell the story of rescue, love, and loyalty.
“Friendship and love between man and dog know no limits,” the HGSS said on Facebook, describing the rescue as one of their most difficult.
“From this example we can all learn about caring for each other,” said the HGSS.
Grga was transferred to a nearby hospital and had surgery to heal his broken leg. “North is home saying hello and relaxing,” according to a Facebook post from relatives, however he is missing his companion for the time being. Grga is also on the mend, according to the family, thanks to North the hero!