A beloved family dog has died after being trampled by a moose it encountered on a hiking trail in Colorado.
According to the Summit County Rescue Group (SCRG), the dog, an 11-year-old bearded Collie named Arlo, got ahead of his owners on the Masontown Trail in Frisco and encountered three moose. When Arlo tried to go back to his owners, one of the moose trampled him.
The dog’s owners, who did not want to be identified, called it a “freak occurrence” and said they’re devastated.
“He was a sweet dog. He had a real great disposition,” Arlo’s owner said. “It’s like seeing your dog or other pet get hit by a car. This was worse.”
The rescue team said Arlo was breathing and unresponsive when they reached him. The team got him off the trail, and the dog’s owners took him to an animal hospital, where he later died.
“Seeing him go the way he did — actually see it — that’s something that’s gonna be with us a while, I think,” the dog’s owner said.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife reminds nature explorers to be aware of their surroundings and informed on what to do in a moose encounter.
“So many of us hike with our dogs. All of us on the team hike with our dogs. We know that moose can be dangerous, but something like this really brings it home and makes people pay attention to keeping themselves and their dogs safe,” said Anna Debattiste, with SCRG.
She said it’s a good idea to keep your dog on a leash and keep them close, though she said SCRG has heard of incidents involving moose approaching leashed dogs as well.
“You just can’t be too careful around a moose,” Debattiste said.
This is the third dog rescue SCRG has responded to so far this year.
“Our primary purpose is to rescue humans. Having said that, we’re all dog lovers, and we want to help. We also know that in many cases, if we leave a person to try to get the dog out of the backcountry themselves, that may lead to an injured person that now we have to go rescue,” Debattiste said.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife explained that dogs pose a threat to moose.
“When it comes to defending their young, cow moose will protect their calves very aggressively, especially in the presence of dogs,” said CPW. “Moose react to dogs as they would to wolves — one of their primary predators. Moose will often attack even the most gentle dog as if it were a wolf.”