Still in his puppy days at eight months old, Alaskan Malamute, North is already a hero. Thanks to this brave pup, dog dad Grga Brkić, is still here to tell the tale of love and rescue that came at the paws of his best buddy.
Today, the pair are home and safe, but without North, Grga may have been a soul lost to the elements after a hiking trip went afoul.
The pair had gone hiking along the Velebit mountain range, a part of the Dinaric Alps that looms roughly 5,900-feet above Croatia’s Adriatic coastline. It’s considered the highest range in Croatia and contains extreme terrains of snow, ice, and rock that make it a challenge even for experienced hikers.
As Grga and North were climbing down from the highest peak Grga fell almost 500 feet down one of the slopes, resulting in a severely broken leg and ankle. Though they were stranded awaiting rescue for hours, North never left his master’s side.
North Saves a Life
Seeing his injured dad in pain and freezing, North curled up around Grga to keep him warm and secure against the snow until help could arrive. Together, the two lay in peril until a pair of hikers found them and alerted emergency services.
The Hrvatska Gorska Služba Spašavanja(HGSS), Croatia’s mountain rescue service, arrived on the scene to find the two huddled together against the elements.
Josip Brozičević, head of HGSS in Gospić, told Total Croatia News, “The dog was curled up next to the owner in the pit the entire time; he warmed his owner with his body, thus preventing the mountaineer’s significant hypothermia who suffered a severe fracture of the lower leg and ankle when he fell.”
Their rescue proved complicated, involving 27 rescuers from various divisions of the HGSS. With lifesaving their mission, the team successfully airlifted Grga from the mountain after a grueling 13-hour operation. During their work, North refused to leave Grga’s side, even when they transferred him to a stretcher and began the move.
As Grga shared, “The minutes and seconds before they arrived were so slow,” but with North being his “miracle,” he’s still here today to share the tale of rescue, love, and loyalty.
The HGSS described the rescue as one of their most challenging, but as they shared on Facebook, “Friendship and love between man and dog know no boundaries.”
“From this example we can all learn about caring for each other,” said the HGSS.
Grga was taken to a local hospital, where he underwent surgery to repair his damaged leg. Though missing his buddy for the moment, “North is home saying hello and relaxing,” according to a Facebook post from family. The family also said Grga is on the mend thanks to North the hero!
Feature Image: screenshot, Hrvatska gorska služba spašavanja/YouTube