Tia Vargas was excited to take her annual hiking trip with her elderly father, Ted Kasper. The two were hiking a mountain trail when Ted decided to stop to rest. Tia kept on going for a while as her father patiently waited for her to return. When she came back, he noticed that she was carrying something big on her back. It turned out that they had a new companion who would be joining them back down the mountain.
An Unexpected Turn
Tia and Ted traveled to Table Rock Trail in Wyoming for a father-daughter hike. The two began walking up the 11,106-foot summit. Ted made it through a good part of the journey but eventually decided to not overdo it. He stayed behind as Tia journeyed to the top. On her way back down, Tia noticed a large English Springer Spaniel limping beside a couple of hikers who were trying to find the dog’s owner. “They asked if he was mine and said that they’d seen a note at the bottom of the trail mentioning that somebody had lost their dog,” Tia told PEOPLE. She noticed that the dog had a nametag that read “Boomer.” Somewhere, Boomer had gotten separated from his owners and sustained some pretty bad injuries. There was no way that Boomer would be able to make it down the mountain by himself. So, when the other hikers continued on their way, Tia made a decision to take Boomer with her by any means necessary.
Tia hoisted the 55-pound dog onto her shoulders and walked back to where her father was waiting on her. Ted couldn’t believe that Tia had not only found a dog but decided to carry him back down the challenging terrain. “He laughed and said, ‘You don’t think this hike is hard enough without carrying a heavy dog, too?’” Tia mentioned. “And I told him, ‘Dad, this dog is lost and hurt. There’s nobody else. I can do this.’” Tia was a bit in over her head, though. There was still some leftover snow on the trails as well as trash, and it covered an easier trail that she could’ve taken. Tia and Ted ended up getting lost twice. At one point, Tia had to put Boomer in her lap and slide down a snowy slope on her behind because she couldn’t find another way to the trail. Then it started to rain, making it even more difficult to carry Boomer. Tia was really tired and discouraged. “It got to the point where my neck and legs were in so much pain and I was so scratched up and tired, I didn’t think I could go on carrying Boomer,” she stated. “I was in tears, thinking that I’d have to leave that dog behind. And I didn’t want him to die.” She silently prayed that she would be able to make it down the trail with Boomer. “I suddenly felt like somebody had walked up behind me and lifted Boomer off my shoulders,” she says, “and I realized that I had to buck up and do this. If I didn’t get him off the mountain, I knew that he would die.”
Part Of The Family
Later that evening, Tia finally reached the bottom with her father and Boomer. They found the note left behind by Boomer’s owners and contacted them. The family had been hiking with Boomer when the dog wandered off and fell 100 feet down a slippery crevice. They figured that the poor dog had crawled off to die alone. It turned out that the family had planned to sell Boomer but decided that he really should be with Tia after all she did to save his life. After Boomer went to the vet to be treated for his dislocated foot and torn ligaments, he was able to go home with Tia and her three kids. “I haven’t had a dog in 15 years, but Boomer is part of our family now,” the woman shared. “I feel like there’s a reason why I was on the mountain at the very moment that he needed somebody to help. Both of us had a guardian angel that day.”
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