Missing US Hiker’s Body Found With Surviving Dog 2 Months After Disappearance

When the call of adventure beckoned, Rich Moore, a spirited 71-year-old, embarked on a journey that would test the limits of his endurance. He and his faithful 14-year-old Jack Russell terrier, Finney, set off on a hiking expedition to conquer the majestic Blackhead Peak, nestled east of Pagosa Springs. The allure of the wilderness, the fresh mountain air, and the company of his loyal canine companion filled Rich with excitement.

However, as fate would have it, this adventure took an unexpected turn. They ventured into the wild on August 19, 2023, and from that day on, they disappeared from the radar. Loved ones, friends, and search and rescue teams embarked on a tireless mission to bring them home. Over 2,000 hours were spent scouring the rugged terrain, but all they could find was Rich’s abandoned car, leaving them with an agonizing mystery.

Then, on the eve of Halloween, a remarkable twist of fate unfolded. Rich Moore’s lifeless body was discovered in the Lower Blanco drainage basin by a hunter. What was even more astonishing was that Finney, his loyal Jack Russell terrier, had defied all odds to remain by his side, surviving in the unforgiving wilderness for two long months.

Let’s delve into the extraordinary journey of Rich Moore and Finney, celebrating the resilience of the human spirit and the unwavering bond between man and his best friend. Join us as we uncover the heartwarming and inspirational story of their incredible loyalty and survival.

A Mysterious Disappearance

August 19, 2023, was a day filled with excitement for Rich Moore and his faithful companion, Finney. They embarked on a hiking expedition with a goal in mind – to conquer Blackhead Peak, a stunning natural wonder located east of Pagosa Springs. Little did they know that this adventure would lead to an astonishing tale of survival and unwavering loyalty.

As the days turned into weeks, concern grew among their loved ones. Rich and Finney had vanished without a trace, leaving behind a cloud of worry and uncertainty. Search and rescue teams swung into action, dedicating over 2,000 hours to scour the rugged terrain in hopes of finding any sign of the missing duo. Their relentless efforts were fueled by the sheer determination to bring Rich and Finney back home safely.

Despite their best efforts, the search teams could only locate Rich’s car, leaving them with more questions than answers. The wilderness had swallowed them whole, and as time ticked by, the mystery deepened. Friends and family held on to hope, their hearts heavy with concern for the fate of Rich and his loyal companion.

In the face of adversity, the community rallied together, offering their support and prayers. Messages of encouragement and gratitude poured in for the search and rescue teams, who worked tirelessly to unravel the enigma of Rich Moore and Finney’s disappearance.

The Unyielding Search Efforts

Even in the face of uncertainty, the search for Rich Moore and Finney never wavered. Taos Search and Rescue (TSAR) played a pivotal role in the relentless efforts to locate the missing hiker and his loyal companion.

In a heartfelt post shared on Facebook, TSAR provided updates on their search efforts, shedding light on the dedication of their team members. TSAR member Delinda Vanne-Brightyn, along with her certified K9 partner, AkioYodasan, responded to the initial search. Delinda’s account of their efforts gives us a glimpse into the challenging terrain they faced:

“We searched from just under the peak-top and directly West, searching down the mountain toward where his car was located. Winds were directly from the West/Southwest. It was so steep, we were inserted in by a helicopter. He was found 2.5 miles East of the mountain-top beneath where we were inserted.”

The community rallied around these tireless search and rescue teams, offering their condolences and support. One user expressed their astonishment, saying, “Oh my goodness…his sweet dog stayed with him for over two months? Sending prayers for his family. Thank you for your work in locating him and giving this family some closure.”

It was a testament to the incredible bond between Rich and Finney, and the deep impact their story had on those who followed their journey. The unwavering dedication of TSAR and the outpouring of compassion from the community highlighted the strength of human spirit and the remarkable connection between humans and their animal companions.

The Remarkable Loyalty of Dogs

The story of Finney’s unwavering loyalty to Rich Moore is nothing short of extraordinary, but it’s also a testament to a quality deeply ingrained in dogs: loyalty. Dogs have earned their reputation as “man’s best friend” for countless reasons, and their loyalty stands at the forefront of these endearing qualities.

Loyalty, in the canine world, is a bond forged through centuries of companionship and cooperation with humans. Dogs are pack animals by nature, and within their pack, loyalty is the glue that holds everything together. This loyalty extends not only to their fellow canines but also to their human companions.

One of the most remarkable aspects of a dog’s loyalty is its unconditional nature. Regardless of circumstances, dogs remain steadfast in their devotion. Whether you’ve had a bad day or are facing challenges in life, your dog will be there, offering solace with a wagging tail and a comforting presence. This steadfast loyalty provides a sense of emotional support and companionship that is truly unparalleled.

Dogs also exhibit loyalty through their protective instincts. They consider their human family members as part of their pack, and this protective nature often comes to the forefront when they sense danger. Many heartwarming stories have emerged of dogs putting themselves in harm’s way to protect their owners, highlighting their incredible loyalty and selflessness.

Moreover, the loyalty of dogs extends beyond the confines of their homes. Therapy dogs provide comfort and companionship to individuals in hospitals, nursing homes, and schools. Search and rescue dogs, like Finney, work alongside human handlers to save lives in emergencies, showcasing their loyalty to both their handlers and society as a whole.

Essential Hiking Safety Tips

Hiking is a fantastic way to explore nature, but safety should always be a priority. Rich Moore’s story underscores the importance of preparedness. Here are key hiking safety tips in brief:

  1. Share Your Plans: Inform someone you trust about your hiking plans, including your route and return time.
  2. Weather Check: Check the weather forecast before you go, as sudden changes can pose risks.
  3. Pack Smart: Carry essentials like maps, a first aid kit, extra clothing, snacks, and water. Be ready for emergencies.
  4. Know Your Limits: Choose a trail that matches your fitness and experience level.
  5. Stay on Trails: Stick to marked paths to avoid getting lost or disoriented.
  6. Group Hiking: It’s safer to hike with others; if alone, notify someone about your plans.
  7. Leave No Trace: Respect nature by minimizing your impact on the environment.
  8. Hydration: Stay hydrated and eat energy-boosting snacks during the hike.
  9. Navigation Skills: Learn basic map and compass skills for orientation.
  10. Emergency Contact: Carry a charged phone and consider a satellite communication device for remote areas.

Adhering to these tips ensures a safer, more enjoyable hiking experience. Nature’s beauty awaits, but responsible preparation is key.

Inspiring Resilience and the Power of Loyalty

In Rich Moore and Finney’s remarkable journey, we’ve witnessed an unbreakable bond between a man and his loyal canine companion—a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the loyalty of dogs. Though Rich’s adventure ended in tragedy, it serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of safety in the wilderness, echoing the need for preparedness.


As we celebrate the enduring spirit that carried Rich and Finney through two months in the wild, let us also remember the broader lesson – that in adversity, both human and canine, loyalty and companionship can be guiding lights. Rich’s legacy lives on through his loyal companion, Finney, and in the hearts of those who followed their inspiring journey. Their story encourages us to cherish the bonds with our four-legged friends and explore nature responsibly, ensuring that our own adventures remain safe and memorable.

Colorado hiker missing for months found dead with his dog still alive by his side
Revealed: Why Are Dogs So Loyal To Humans?
Essential Safety Tips for Every Hike

Leave a Comment