Zak Anderegg had gone hiking before, but this particular hike stood out amongst the rest. This was one hike he would remember for the rest of his life.
As he was walking, he peered down into a dark, 350-foot deep canyon in Northern Arizona and laid eyes on a sickly puppy. The puppy stared back at him with sad eyes. In that moment, Zak knew he had to help this poor dog.
It’s unknown exactly how this puppy wound up at the bottom of the canyon, but Zak suspected that someone put him there. If the pup had fallen down there, then he most likely would have been injured.
Zak put food on a plate for the puppy, who didn’t even hesitate to gobble it right up. He was starving and so emaciated that you could see every single one of his ribs sticking out of his dirty fur.
Zak hoped that the poor pup would survive until he was able to come back to save him. The next day, Zak brought some long rope to the canyon and used it to reach the puppy.
He brought him to an animal hospital, where he would receive immediate medical attention. The puppy was now safe and in good hands, but his journey was far from over.
During his recovery, the pup was very weak and could barely get up on his own. But despite his weakness, he still wagged his tail as if he were saying ‘thank you.’
Zak was a hero, but this was not his final act of kindness; he felt so attached to the puppy at this point, that he didn’t want to leave the hospital without him. He named him Riley and decided to adopt him and give him a forever home!
Riley made an amazing recovery, transforming from a 17-lb sick pup to a 75-lb healthy, beautiful dog. Seeing him now, you wouldn’t even believe that he’s the same dog!
Not only did Zak save Riley, but Zak says Riley also saved him. Zak had been abused and bullied in the past, and he still has a hard time with it today, but Riley helps him get through it.
When Zak looked down in the canyon and saw Riley’s emaciated body, he saw a form of himself from the past. But Riley’s recovery gave Zak hope that he too would be able to recover and trust people again. Riley showed that it is possible to heal from a bad past.
Zak and Riley have since gone back to the canyon they met at, but this time it was to create happy memories. The two of them go hiking together all the time, and Riley even has a fur brother named Kohi.
You can see their story in the video below. You can also keep up with Riley in his new life by “liking” his Facebook page.