Missing dog spotted 11 months after surviving fatal Colorado avalanche

Almost a year since a skier lost his dog in a fatal avalanche in Colorado, a trail camera has caught sight of the elusive canine who has been surviving in the wilderness.

Jacob Dalbey was skiing with two friends and his dog, Ullr, on 17 March last year when a 2,500-foot-long avalanche was triggered, tearing down an east-facing slope around one mile from Chair Mountain.

One of his companions did not survive the avalanche, but he and his other friend remarkably made their way out of the tragic incident, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center said in a report.

As the avalanche started to descend, Mr Dalbey went to reach for Ullr but was swept off his feet; he had not seen Ullr ever since.

Ever since Ullr went missing, Mr Dalbey has received various tips throughout the year, from possible sightings to dog barks and paw prints and has even paid for a professional tracker to try and discover Ullr’s whereabouts.

Now, Mr Dalbey has finally received a photo of Ullr, who has been living out in the wilderness for almost a year.

“Ullr looks really, really good, especially for surviving an avalanche and for being on his own for almost a year,” Mr Dalbey said in an update on the GoFundMe page, raising money for the search for Ullr.

The owner added that they have built a team of people who are experienced in covering missing dogs who have gone into survival mode or who are wary of coming to safety.

He added that Ullr was seen in “an area we have known or expected” and thanked everyone who donated money towards Ullr’s rescue mission and those who sent in tips and GPS locations of his four-legged friend.

In a previous update, Deborah Wieker explained that “people can unknowingly chase a dog, such as Ullr, that is in fight or flight, away from an area that he has taken refuge in”, and Mr Dalbey said that Ullr needs to be treated like a stray cat “stop, drop and report”.

Mr Dalbey is continuing to use funds from the fundraiser to support the search for his dog and hopes to be reunited with him as he brings him to safety.

Ullr disappeared last year during the fatal avalanche, which measured four to six feet deep, 400 feet wide and 2,500 feet long.

It took hours for Mr Dalbey to rescue himself from the avalanche debris, and fought pain, exhaustion, hypothermia and frostbite after the incident. After walking down Rapid Creek away from the accident area, he was eventually rescued by a helicopter.

Tragically, his friend was killed in the accident, but the CAIC said in their report that it was “extremely fortunate that the avalanche did not kill all three people”, adding that the two survivors “both came close to dying”.

As for Ullr, who has survived 11 months living by himself, he still remains out there, but donors are hoping he will be reunited with his owner.

“Whenever he chooses, we’re all ready to help him come to safety,” Mr Dalbey added on the fundraiser. “There are plans in place to make this a reality and bring my unbelievably strong boy to safety.”