Dog missing for 19 days after fatal wreck in Colorado is rescued
Nineteen days ago, Samantha Orr lost her mom in a fatal crash while in the Colorado mountains.
Her mom, Jennifer Orr, was driving their 2004 Jeep Wrangler when she came across a large rock in the road, according to Chaffee County Search and Rescue. She tried to drive around it, but the Jeep slid and went off the road and fell 600 feet down the mountain.
“We were just driving along having a conversation and the next thing we knew we were going over the edge,” Samatha Orr, of Wichita, Kansas, told KOAA. The Jeep was at an elevation of 11,440 feet when it crashed, according to the county’s search and rescue organization.
Jennifer died at the scene, and her daughter was airlifted to a hospital with serious injuries.
“I will fully recover,” Samantha Orr posted to Facebook about a week after the deadly crash. She said she has some displaced ribs and a compressed vertebra as a result of the crash.
But while working to recover and while grieving the death of her mom, Samantha was also worried about her dog, Bentley the goldendoodle.
Bentley was in the Jeep when it crashed, and he was thrown from the car, according to the Facebook page, “Bring Bentley Home.” Samantha told KOAA she saw her dog fly from the Jeep and run down the mountainside, but she didn’t see him after that.
“My mom and my dog were my best friends,” Samatha Orr told KOAA.
So, exactly one week after the crash, Samantha Orr launched the Facebook page for Bentley and asked for the public’s help in finding her fluffy goldendoodle (he also goes by Bently, Bear and Brad).
“We need to find him!” Orr wrote on the page. “Finding him and returning him to his family will be one less loss to grieve for this family.”
The days went by, though, and there was no sign of Bentley.
Another week later, on Aug. 21, Samantha Orr was back in Kansas and still hoping to find her four-legged best friend who went missing during her family’s annual trip to Colorado, KOAA reported.
“We know he is still out there and scared,” a post on the page said. “We need to get Bentley back home to Kansas to his grieving family.”
Still, there was no sign. On Aug. 21, his family asked for prayers and said they are not giving up.
Then, for three days, the page went quiet. No posts about Bentley were made.
But on Thurday, Aug. 24, Samantha Orr heard from stranger Joseph Stratmann. He told her he saw Bentley near where he went missing, according to a Facebook post. Stratmann had been looking for Bentley after he saw a missing dog ad on Craigslist, and he even left dog food out for the goldendoodle.
“Upon hearing the news I sobbed in the car and couldn’t WAIT to meet this incredible person who saw my baby with his own eyes, alive and healthy!” Samantha posted.
So, on early Saturday, Samantha Orr met Stratmann in person and they started the climb for her dog.
“From that moment, there was no turning back. Joe was my living guardian angel Saturday,” she said. “He safely led me up the mountain, kept me calm and positive, everything I needed in that moment. At times he was a human stepping stool for me when I had no foot placement while climbing the mountain on all fours.”
Finally, they saw Bentley a few hours in — but he wouldn’t come to them.
“Eventually his fear got the best of him and he made his way to the ridge (top),” she posted. “I slowly but surely followed him, upon reaching the summit, I could see him watching me.”
Once she caught up, she said she laid down and unpacked some food and the new toy she had bought for Bentley.
“He never moved an inch for over 15 minutes,” she said. “Eventually I decided to give him some space, back off for a few minutes, and that got his attention.”
That’s when she started filming a video.
“And from then it was nothing but tears and celebration!” she said.
In the video, you can see Bentley out in the distance with a mountain slope behind him. The sky is bright blue, cloudy. He’s on the same area where the Jeep has crashed — in the same mountain where his owner’s mom had died less than a month ago.
Bentley never left. He was “peering down at the Jeep wreckage, patiently waiting for his family to return,” Samatha Orr posted.
You can hear Samantha Orr crying out for her baby.
“It’s momma,” she said as she encouraged him to come closer. “Good boy ... come, come.”
Bentley continued to come closer — slowly.
He turned around and started to head in the opposite direction, but only for a few seconds.
Samantha continued to call for her best friend.
“Come, come,” she said. “It’s your momma ... come, come ... you’re OK ... come here, you’re so good. You did so good. I’m so proud of you.”
Her reassuring voice was working.
Bentley continued to slowly walk toward his owner who he hadn’t seen since Aug. 7.
Finally, Samantha was able to put her hand out and Bentley gave it a good sniff. Samantha started crying and the video came to an end.
“This guy has been what can only be compared to a mountain goat for the past 19 days,” Samantha Orr wrote when she posted the video. “ ... For the past 3 days he has been spotted far far above the accident site, laying amongst the rocks along the ridge of the mountain.”
“I have never, and I mean never, done such dangerous and rewarding activity in my entire life,” she wrote. “Bentley is okay, he’s a little malnourished and dehydrated. But otherwise no noticeable injuries.”
“Thank you to everyone who played a role in bringing this sweet boy home,” she continued. “I know the past 19 days, God and my beautiful momma have been keeping an eye on him. GOD IS SO GOOD!”
Samantha Orr said Stratmann, an “incredible man,” is the reason she was able to reunite with “traumatized Bentley.”
“Had it not been for Joe, this puppy would not have returned home,” she wrote.
In a second video, Samantha thanked all those who helped find Bentley. She was crying. It had only been about three minutes since Bentley the goldendoodle finally came up to her.
Bentley can be seen on her lap. They are 12,000 feet high.
“He’s OK,” she said through her tears. “He’s literally laying on my lap and he’s fine. He’s safe and he’s coming home and I’m so grateful.”