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Arizona: Missing hiker found dead on mountain as loyal dog stays by his side | US News


A devoted dog stayed by the side of his owner after they got lost on a hiking expedition until his body was recovered and the canine rescued.

Donald Hayes, 74, went missing on Mingus Mountain in Prescott National Forest, Arizona, last Friday.

Mr Hayes called the forest patrol team to raise the alarm and was told rescuers were en route and to stay where he was.

But he chose not to wait and tried to find his own way out, turning his mobile phone off to conserve the battery.

The hiker’s body was discovered on Wednesday afternoon in a rugged area that was difficult to reach, Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office (YCSO) said in a statement.

Mr Hayes’ dog, a Labrador-mix named Ranger, was found in a serious condition suffering severe dehydration and exhaustion.

He was given oxygen and fluids before being taken to a vet.

Now a fundraising campaign has been launched to pay for Ranger’s veterinary bills.

The GoFundMe page was set up by search and rescue volunteer Dondi West, who wrote: “We hope to pay the veterinary bills to ease the pain of the family tragedy and help in Ranger’s recovery.

“Your donation is the start of his return to health.”

Donald ernest Hayes
Re: Ranger Dog Gofundme page
Donald Hayes’ body was found in a difficult-to-reach area

So far the fundraiser has accumulated more than half its $5,000 target.

Additional funds beyond Ranger’s immediate critical care will be given to Mr Hayes’ wife.

One person who donated said: “What a loyal dog. This canine stuck with his master to the absolute and unfortunate end.”

The Mingus Mountain region has elevations of up to 7,800 feet, according to the US Forest Service.

Search and rescue teams spent six days searching for Mr Hayes.

Ranger was found in a serious condition with severe dehydration and exhaustion

Sheriff David Rhodes said: “I thank all the volunteer search and rescue teams and others who gave their time to locate the victim and bring him home.

“Our searchers utilised every tool at their disposal to find Mr Hayes and never gave up.

“Our condolences go out to Mr Hayes’ family, and we wish the outcome could have been different.”


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