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Barking Dog Rescues Injured Hiker on LaniPo Trail

A Samoyed dog standing outside by Alex Russell

In a heartwarming tale of courage and resilience, a barking dog emerged as an unlikely hero, leading rescuers to an injured hiker who had fallen more than 100 feet off a treacherous trail. An avid hiker, Kelsey Colpitts found herself in a problematic situation above Wilhelmina Rise on the LaniPo Trail. The incredible rescue was fueled by the persistent barks of the hiker’s faithful dog. This article sets the narrative of an extraordinary bond between humankind and their pet animals, discussing how a dog rescues his injured owner on the LaniPo Trail.

The Distress Call

Ko’olau Range Closeup by Daniel Ramirez from Honolulu, USA

Kelsey Colpitts ventured about 2.5 miles into the LaniPo Trail, nearing the summit of the Koolau Mountain range. That’s when she heard the dog’s bark and changed the course of her hike out of curiosity. The loud and distressing barks echoed from a nearby area, prompting her to investigate.

The Desperate Plea

Colpitts, confronted with the distressing situation, attempted to get a closer look but faced obstacles with no trees to hold onto. The intensity of the barking, escalating in urgency, fueled her concern for the animal’s well-being. Faced with limited options, she made the crucial decision to call 911.

A Race Against Time

Koolau Mountain
Koolau Mountain from the Pali. By: Eric Tessmer, Molokai, Hawa

Despite her initial plea for help, Colpitts faced disappointment when the fire department conveyed their inability to rescue an animal. Overwhelmed by the thought of the dog suffering, she considered alternative solutions. She even planned a risky rescue attempt:  Get a rope and her friend’s help. However, the clock was ticking, and uncertainty loomed over the fate of both the hiker and her distressed canine companion.

The Turning Point

Approximately 20 minutes later, a glimmer of hope emerged as the fire department reversed its decision. Utilizing geolocation data from the 911 call, rescuers pinpointed the dog’s location down a steep mountain. A skilled rescuer descended the slope and successfully retrieved the dog just before 4:00 p.m.

Human and Dog Reunited

A Samoyed Dog by Alexander Patrikeev

The rescuers, armed with information from the dog’s name tag, tracked down the owner, a 35-year-old female. She was found in thick foliage more than 100 feet below the trail. The injured hiker was then airlifted to the hospital in serious condition. Meanwhile, the hiker’s loyal companion, Cooler, a purebred Samoyed, found temporary refuge at the Hawaiian Humane Society.

Gratitude and Relief

Kelsey Colpitts expressed relief that her decision to call for help saved the dog and led to a fellow hiker’s rescue. Despite initial hesitance, she acknowledged the importance of authorities handling the situation to ensure the safety of everyone involved. Colpitts admitted her dilemma regarding contacting first responders for a pet rescue. The department also cleared that they do case-by-case evaluations in animal rescue scenarios. 

YouTube video


The tale of Cooler and its owner shows the unbreakable bond between humans and animals. The above-heartening rescue story tells us how the loyalty of our four-legged friends is unwavering. We must also appreciate the quick thinking and authority’s collaboration with Colpitss at the moment.

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