Mom Finds Injured Dog on Hike, Carries It All the Way to Safety

The 55-pound dog had been abandoned and injured, so she put him on her shoulders and carried him for hours until they reached the end of the hike.
Kevin McCarthy September 12, 2018

Tia Vargas, from Idaho Falls, Idaho, is a woman who will do anything for her son. But this story shows that she will go above and beyond for an unexpected someone.

(Courtesy of Tia Maree Vargas)
(Courtesy of Tia Maree Vargas)

Vargas’ 17-year-old son deals with mental health and substance issues, which recently led to him being checked into a wellness camp to help him recover.

The program encourages participants’ family members to engage in certain activities that’ll help them “relate” to the ones who are in the camp. Vargas was inspired to hike up Table Rock, a hill in Idaho.

“One of the things it said was to figure out how many miles you can walk and double it,” Vargas told East Idaho News. “So I decided I was going to hike Table Rock. We hike it every year but everybody in my family was injured or couldn’t do it except my 76-year-old dad.”

Accompanied only by her father, Vargas set out on the 7-mile hike on July 5 2018.

One simple question

Given her father’s age, there would be points where Vargas would go ahead of him on the hike, while he would stay back to rest.

Vargas reached the top of the mountain by herself, and while on the way back down, a few people came up to her and asked her a specific question:

“I saw some people walking a dog and they asked if it was mine,” Vargas said.

According to Vargas, the dog was limping pretty badly, and had trouble walking in general. The dog’s tag said “Boomer”—it was someone else’s dog.

Given the condition Boomer was in, Vargas knew she couldn’t leave the dog on the mountain by himself, especially that high up.

Despite the miles she had to hike to return to the bottom, the woman made it her mission to bring the dog back to safety.

How would she do this? By carrying the 55-pound dog on her shoulders, so he wouldn’t hurt himself by walking.

(Courtesy of Tia Maree Vargas)
(Courtesy of Tia Maree Vargas)

It wasn’t easy

One can imagine how hard it was for Vargas to bring the dog back down, especially after already being tired before finding Boomer.

Understandably, both the difficulty of the hike and the weight of the dog were getting to her; there was a point when she thought she couldn’t do it.

(Courtesy of Tia Maree Vargas)
(Courtesy of Tia Maree Vargas)

But when the woman kept going, something unexplainable came over her.

“I said a prayer and literally felt that somebody walked up behind me and lifted the dog off my shoulders,” Vargas said.

She kept on, even through rainy weather and rough terrain. Hours after Vargas and her father initially started the hike, they finally made it to the bottom with their new friend.

The dog was safe, thanks to Vargas.

A new home

Vargas wasted no time in taking Boomer to the vet, where he was treated for his multiple injuries.

(Courtesy of Tia Maree Vargas)
(Courtesy of Tia Maree Vargas)

Vargas then came into contact with his owners, who had lost him on the mountain during a 4th of July hike.

It turns out that they were planning to sell the dog, so the owners let Vargas have him.

And she couldn’t have been more happy to take him in.

“I haven’t had a dog in 15 years, but Boomer is part of our family now,” Vargas told PEOPLE.

(Courtesy of Tia Maree Vargas)
(Courtesy of Tia Maree Vargas)

The woman believes she was on that specific mountain for a reason that day, and the result was saving a dog’s life.

There is also a GoFundMe page for Vargas’s son, one that will help the family pay for the camp he recently attended.

At least now, the son will have not only his family, but a new dog to help him overcome his struggles.