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Dog Helps Save Owner After Skiing Accident
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Story By: Larry Stine



  Originally Published on: 11/14/2013

A dog is credited with saving its owner's life, after the skier became paralyzed in an accident, and stranded on Colorado's Berthoud Pass. Justin Joseph reports. "He mentioned if he didn't come down in an hour to come looking for him just because the snow was a little deceptive," says Ryan Bame, nephew of Leonard Somers. Those were the last words Ryan Bame remembers before snapping this picture of his uncle, Leonard Somers, skiing away with his dog at his side. But the sun over Berthoud Pass faded quickly on November 2nd, the freezing temperature not far behind it. "I saw Juno running up the path," says Jenny Beltman. Beltman saw the dog at the bottom of the hill and heard her bark to get her attention. "I first saw the dog by himself and then he headed over to where Leonard was," she says. "Leonard Somers had fallen into this ravine, hitting a frozen tree trunk and breaking his back," says KDVR reporter Justin Joseph. "Unable to move his legs, his companion, an Alaskan Husky named Juneau, left his side only long enough to get the attention of other skiiers to guide them back." "He was very loyal. He was sitting with him. He wouldn't leave his side," says Beltman. Flight for Life rushed Somers to Saint Anthony Hospital where a week and a surgery later, a very excited Alaskan Husky waited patiently to greet him. With his feet in casts, and a hand on his bible, Somers has spent every day reflecting on his accident. "I don't know if God was reaching out through her or something bigger was playing out," Somers said. And, his dog who saved him. "She knew I needed help," Somers said. "She helped me dig out and laid on me to keep me warm until help came." Somers may not walk again. "There are a lot of alternatives that could have happened that day," he says. But a positive attitude will move him in ways his legs never could. "If I can't end up walking, my faith won't change," he says. "It's going to be much stronger." As for Juneau, her life is now rich with rewards and some much-needed rest. "I love her so much for her help," Somers says. And the years of friendship left with the man she saved. "If you ever see her on the streets, give her a big hug and kiss," Somers said.
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