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Alaska’s Lassie: husky Nanook, taking himself for a walk, rescues injured hiker twice

Dog found hiker when she fell off the Crow Pass Trail, then pulled her to shore when she plunged into the Eagle River

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 July, 2018, 2:42am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 July, 2018, 9:04am

A 7-year-old Alaskan husky that was taking itself for a walk is credited with helping rescue an injured hiker on a trail east of Anchorage, Alaska.

The dog, named Nanook, helped pull Amelia Milling to shore after she fell while crossing the Eagle River last month, the Alaska Star reported.

Milling, a 21-year-old college student from Tennessee, was hiking the Crow Pass Trail and was injured early in the planned three-day hike. The lone dog first found her after she tumbled down a snowy slope and hit a rock that launched her into the air, she said.

“My first response was, where’s the owner?” Milling said. “Then I saw the collar and it said (the dog) was a Crow Pass guide, and I realised that he was there to help me.”

Nanook guided her back to the trail and camped with her overnight. The next day Nanook stayed with Milling as she tried to ford the river.

The spot was too deep, and Milling fell into the water. As she scrambled to the shore, Nanook helped her out of the freezing glacial water.

“She slipped and fell, and the dog was able to save her and get her back to shore,” Lieutenant Eric Olsen of the Alaska State Troopers said.

Milling later activated an emergency locator and was rescued by a trooper helicopter.

Milling and Nanook were airlifted to Anchorage. Milling was treated for minor injuries and released.

“I believe the dog is a guardian angel,” Milling said.

Nanook belongs to Scott Swift, who lives near the south end of the 24-mile (39km) trail.

“He’s Alaska’s version of Lassie,” Olsen said.

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Nanook regularly takes himself for walks into Chugach State Park and accompanies hikers he meets on the trails to the Eagle River Nature Centre, Swift said.

“He’s been doing it for years now,” Swift said.

Swift adopted Nanook about six years ago. The dog does not have rescue training.

While on one of his mountain adventures a few years ago, Nanook helped a young girl out of the river.

“This is the second time I’ve heard of he has saved someone from drowning in that river,” Swift said.