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Brave Couple Hikes Six Miles On Frozen Terrain To Save Lost Dog In 'Miracle' Mountain Rescue

Photo: TikTok
Lost Dog

An eight-year-old golden retriever named Neesha defied the odds by surviving two weeks alone in the harsh, icy terrain of the Irish mountains.

Neesha went missing on January 23rd when her family took her for a walk in the Wicklow Mountains, a national park that covers almost 80 square miles south of Dublin.

The golden retriever, along with the family’s German shepherd, Harley, chased after a deer and disappeared into the ether.

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Harley was retrieved the next day and returned home, but Neesha was nowhere to be found.

The Geotelen family posted on social media and searched the area on foot and with a drone, bringing Harley along to help.

They left dirty laundry and Neesha’s bed out by the trail in hopes she would return. They alerted others in the area to keep an eye out for Neesha, and contacted mountain rescue services. 

Their efforts were to no avail.

“We are heartbroken,” Erina O’Shea Goetelen wrote in a Facebook post.

Her daughter, Shannah, said she was sleepless with worry.

“I just pictured her shivering in the cold,” said the twenty-year-old. “It was awful.”

After two weeks without their beloved pet, the Goetelens had all but given up hope.

“We just thought she was eight, it’s been two weeks, there was no way she could survive that,” Erina told the Irish Times.

But on February 6th, Ciara Nolan and Jean-Francois Bonnet were hiking Lugnaquilla mountain when they found a weak and freezing Neesha near the summit.

“It was a very bad day,” Bonnet told East Coast FM

“It was cold, snowy, windy and the visibility wasn’t great. We were almost at the top when my girlfriend Ciara screamed ‘There is a dog, there is a dog.’” 

Ciara “couldn’t stop crying” when they discovered the animal.

Her boyfriend described the distressing scene: “The poor thing was curled up against a rock,” he recounted. “She was petrified, freezing cold. She didn’t have the energy to bark or stand.”

Bonnet and Nolan documented the rescue in a TikTok post that has received over 500 thousand likes.

The video shows the couple discovering the dog amidst a foggy, bleak landscape crusted with snow.

“She was so cold, she couldn’t move,” the text reads, “So we carried her down.”

The hikers dressed the freezing dog in a black puffy coat and carried her more than six miles down the mountain, a journey that took about four or five hours.

The ground was icy, and the two saviors slipped and fell a few times, so Nolan strapped poor Neesha to Bonnet’s backpack with a scarf.

Once they had gotten Neesha home safe, Ciara and Jean-François warmed and fed her. They then contacted a local animal rescue, which helped them find the Geotelen family. 

Erina said she was in disbelief when she received the news.

“When (Ciara) said she had our dog, we were like what? You couldn’t. She’s dead,” the mother of two recounted.

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Luckily, Neesha was alive and safe, and her owners went to pick her up. Bonnet’s TikTok video shows the joyful reunion, as the Geotelens kneel to embrace and caress their sweet pup.

Viewers thanked Bonnet and Nolan for their courageous act, calling them “heroes” and “angels.” 

“Everything is heavier at higher altitude,” one commenter pointed out, impressed.

“It’s just a miracle,” another said, that Neesha survived the ordeal.

Neesha is now recovering at home.

The dog had lost a third of her body weight and had some minor cuts and scrapes from navigating the rocks, but was otherwise unharmed. 

At first, “She was a little bit subdued,” Erina said. “I think she was suffering from post-traumatic stress for the first couple of hours. She slept by my son’s bed, which normally she doesn’t.”

However, the family dog soon returned to her sunny self.

“She’s wagging her tail,” reported Erina. “She’s quite happy and contented.” 

“She snuggles up in her bed sleeping but she gets up now and again for a rub. She lifts her head up to look at us.”

The Geotelens are extremely grateful to have Neesha back.

“We have no words to thank them,” Erina said. 

“It was absolutely amazing and unbelievable.”

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Allie McGlone is a writer who covers a variety of topics for YourTango, including pop culture and entertainment.