On a snowy day of February, a 60-year-old mountaineer hiker, Warren Muldoon, and his dog, Dakota, stranded on a snowy ledge above a 40-foot waterfall.

Muldoon and his dog spent the morning climbing 10,064-foot Mount San Antonio, also known as Mount Baldy, in Southern California’s Angeles National Forest.On the hike back down, Muldoon missed out the  turn and couldn’t find the descent trail.

Unfortunately, He and his dog tumbled over two waterfalls while attempting to reach the bottom of the remote canyon. Muldoon was badly injured. With punctured lung,five broken ribs and fractured leg in the fall, He slid down a third waterfall.


But Dakota was too scared to move forward and stuck on a ledge about a 30-foot above. Muldoon’s phone was broken.He didn’t know what to do. Somehow Hikers below spotted him and called for help.

A San Bernardino County Sheriff’s helicopter team airlifted the hypothermic hiker out of the canyon. He requested paramedics to resuce Dakota, but they refused. Muldoon was broken, but gravely injured hiker left with no choice.

“I pleaded with the paramedics to pick up my dog,” Muldoon said . “They said it was a choice between saving my life and looking for her, but they would go back.”

Muldoon then admitted to Loma Linda University Medical Center. A social worker from the center called her wife, Connie Muldoon and informed her husband’s injuries and hospitalization.On reaching the hospital Connie learned that Dakota had been left behind.

“I was devastated and angry. Since losing James, I knew I couldn’t lose Warren and Dakota, too,” Connie Muldoon said. “I couldn’t imagine living without them and knew I had to do something.”

Courtesy of Warren Muldoon

Dakota had belonged to their son James since she was 3 months old. James was 32 when he died of brain damage last August after a car ran a red light and hit his motorcycle. Before he died, James Muldoon requested his parents to take care for his beloved dog, Dakota.

Connie posted whole story to social media with the hope that someone would help her in locating Dakota. Next morning, Meg Moran of Yorba Linda learned about the lost dog and wrote back that (My husband Patrick) spends every weekend hiking and I spend every weekend doing dog rescue.I knew we were the perfect people to jump into action.”

Chris Simpson read about the lost dog and headed up the main trail — Ski Hut — to the top of San Antonio Canyon before working his way down.

Sharing the Conditions Chris Simpson said

“The snow conditions were horrendous and I sank up to my hips in some parts of the trail.It was cold and dark and I needed my headlamp to see anything, so I quit after two hours.”

Simpson got lots of clues on the way. He spotted hiker Ricardo Soria Jr., who had seen Dakota on the opposite side of the waterfall, but couldn’t reach her.

They tried to allure Dakota by offering some salami, but she was too frightened to move.

Sharing the incident how he rescued her Simpson said

“Finally I lunged at her with a bear hug and lifted her off the slope,” Simpson said. They secured her with a rope to make moving her safer.

“I sat on the snow and Dakota and I slid down the trail until we reached the bottom,” the hiker said. Simpson opened the door of his truck and Dakota jumped in. “You could tell she was relieved,” he said.

Late that night, Connie Muldoon received the phone call confirming the dog’s rescue — and she broke down.

“Dakota is the last piece of my son we have,” she said. “I couldn’t stop crying.”

Later that night, a bruised but healthy Dakota finally made it back to the Muldoon home in Whittier, California.

“I kissed my dog and kept talking to her, trying to make up for what she went through,” Connie said.

And although Dakota was happy at first, she just didn’t seem herself. Connie decided to bring her to the hospital to see her husband, which did the trick. Dakota perked up and witnesses shed tears watching the reunion, including doctors and nurses.


“If she would have died up there, it would have changed my life forever,” Warren Muldoon said. “I’d never forgive myself.”

After nine days in the hospital, Muldoon is recuperating at home. His lung and ribs are healing, and his left leg is in a cast. He uses a scooter to get around, and will begin physical therapy in a few months. But he still hopes to get back to Mount Baldy this summer with Dakota if she’s willing to go.

“I’m curious if she’ll want to come with me or not!” he said.