An Alaskan husky is being hailed as a hero for helping an injured hiker find her way out of the Alaskan wilderness.
On Monday, Amelia Milling, a college student originally from Tennessee, set out on a three-day hike in Chugach State Park in southern Alaska. It was smooth sailing until she came across a pass with more snow than she anticipated.
“I’m a southerner,” Milling, who is deaf, said through an interpreter. “So I wasn’t thinking about snow.”
While trying to descend the side of a mountain, she lost her trekking poles and slid down over 200 feet. She was hurt and in shock when an Alaskan husky named Nanook seemingly appeared out of nowhere.
Milling checked out the dog’s tag and realized he was a guide dog for hikers. She was able to follow Nanook back to the trail and get her bearings.
After spending the second night of her hike camping out alongside Nanook, Milling tried to ford a river. However, the river was too deep where she tried to cross. She lost her footing, prompting Nanook to jump in the freezing water and pull her to shore.
The dog comforted Milling as she wrapped herself in her sleeping bag to warm up. She realized she was going to struggle to get out of the wilderness on her own, so Milling used her emergency locator and waited for Alaska State Troopers to find her.
When troopers found her, they assumed that Nanook belonged to Milling. However, he actually belongs to Scott Swift, who says Nanook has no search and rescue training but will often venture into the wilderness and then accompany hikers while they return to Chugach’s nature center.
“He’s Alaska’s version of Lassie,” said Alaska State Trooper Eric Olsen.
Other than some bumps and bruises, Milling is in good health after her ordeal. She says she’s not sure if she would have made it out alive if Nanook hadn’t shown up.
“I believe the dog is a guardian angel,” said Milling. “I told him several times that I love him and I’ll never forget him.”