Look, hiking a few miles up a mountain is hard. If you’re a 190-pound dog named Floyd, who may not be in the best shape of his life, it’s a bit too much.
The 3-year-old mastiff was hiking with his human up the Grandeur Peak trail in Salt Lake County, Utah, on Sunday and got so worn out he couldn’t make it back to the car.
About five concerned hikers passed by the pup and his owner, who were stopped on the trail for hours, and called 911 once they got back to cell reception. Salt Lake County Search and Rescue were dispatched to rescue Floyd and quickly sprang to action to make sure the doggo got off the mountain before it got too dark and too cold, Todd Taylor, the team’s squad leader, told BuzzFeed News.
“They started hiking around noon and it’s usually a three-hour hike,” Taylor said. “But they were sitting up there for a few hours. He would walk a few feet and then sit down and his paws were hurt and cut up.”
The nonprofit, all-volunteer crew does about 50 rescues a year, Taylor, 49, said. They range from injured runners, dehydrated hikers, swift-water incidents, and jumping out of helicopters to get to stranded rock climbers.
Most of the volunteers have been rescuing people for 10 to 15 years. Saving dogs, though, is much rarer and required some strategizing.
“This was an interesting rescue because of the size of Floyd,” Taylor said. “We knew we had a big dog, a 190-pounder, and we treated it like a normal rescue for a person.”
Ten rescuers on two teams arrived armed with helmets, ropes, radios, and a litter — a piece of equipment used to carry people — to rescue Floyd. However, the wheel broke about a mile into the rescue, Taylor said, so the crew had to carry the massive mastiff the rest of the way down.
But Floyd handled the entire situation like a champ and was the best of boys.
“We were prepared to have to strap him down, but he was very well-behaved,” Taylor said, adding that Floyd seemed very grateful and relieved during the four-hour operation.
His human was, too.
“The owner was really surprised when we showed up because he didn’t know people had called 911. There’s no cell service up there and he was prepared to spend the night with his dog and get him in the morning,” Taylor said.
The team posted photos and video of Floyd’s rescue, showing the exhausted dog curled up on a red blanket as responders carefully carried him down the trail in the dark.
Several hikers recalled seeing Floyd on their way down and were so happy to hear the news that he was OK.
“We passed him on the way down and it’s all my kids could talk about,” Melanie Peterson wrote on Facebook. “We were so happy and relieved to pass you all heading up for the rescue. What awesome people you are!”
The dog owner’s sister, Amy Sandoval, said on Facebook that they had been out for a family hike, took a wrong turn on the descent, and “ended up on a very tricky slope.”
“It was so hard getting everyone back up the trail. Poor dog just couldn’t take any more after that,” she said. “Thanks to all the nice hikers who offered us more water, as we used the remainder of ours to keep Floyd hydrated.”
People had a lot of empathy for Floyd, who did his very best, and were extremely grateful for the volunteers putting so much time and care into saving the “gentle giant.”
The team’s Facebook photos went viral, garnering 3,000 likes and hundreds of comments.
“It takes special people to do this job, and y’all seem to be some of the best. He looks like such a good boy,” Margie Smith wrote on Facebook.
Several other mastiff owners and dog parents imagined their pups pulling a Floyd and thanked the team for dedicating themselves to saving animals, too.
“Awww THANK YOU so much for rescuing Floyd!! Mastiffs are big ole babies!! My grandson is a mastiff and I can soooo see him doing this!!!,” Tam Mo commented.
The story warmed people’s hearts…like “a fragrant pomelo” (Same…I guess???) on Twitter as well.
They also related to Floyd’s struggle.
And pointed out that we all, even big guys like Floyd, need help at times.
Taylor and the rest of the volunteer rescuers had no idea Floyd’s story would resonate with so many people.
“The night before we rescued three rock climbers who were stuck on a wall and it was a very technical rescue, and on the same trail we rescued Floyd on Sunday, we had to rescue a trail runner who broke an ankle 12 hours later,” he said. “It’s just what we do.”
Although Floyd had quite a traumatic weekend, his aunt said that he is resting well at home and “getting lots of TLC.”