Buffy Cooper takes her Great Danes - Velvet and Bella - on daily walks on C-Hill. Wednesday was no exception.
She had a half-day off and decided to take her dogs all the way to the C.
"I was just about to the bottom of the C and noticed a patch of snow, and that was the last time I saw Bella," Cooper said.
Bella is a 9-month-old Great Dane. Cooper got her when she was about 4 months old.
"I thought she must be gone. She usually never leaves our side. She's a pretty timid little girl."
Traversing the hill, Buffy found no sign of Bella and heard nothing. She hailed another hiker above her on the hill and asked him to look for her dog.
Numerous friends and family joined the search. Day after day, for four days, there was no sign of Bella. Cooper posted flier in the C-Hill neighborhood and anywhere else she could think of.
On Saturday, a woman by the name of Sonja was walking her dogs on the hill. Sonja heard barking near a boulder where her dogs ran to, but thought it could be a coyote and shooed her dogs away.
Fortunately for Cooper, Sonja didn't forget about the barking.
"She said after thinking about it the bark was too deep for a coyote," said Cooper, who did not get the rescuer's last name. "She went back up Sunday with kibble and water to take another look."
Sonja found an icy 6-feet-deep hole near the boulder and, looking in, saw the dog's head.
"Bella could move her head, but could not get her body out," Cooper said.
A friend of Sonja's recalled seeing a flier about a lost black Great Dane, which had Cooper's contact number on it. When Cooper got there, the sound of her owner's voice was all it took.
"When I got there, the lower trail was really slippery from the early snow. Sonja told me to call Bella's name and when I did, she popped out of the hole."
"Bella just about knocked me over when she got to me. She was so skinny, I could see every rib, every vertebrae. She was looking pretty sick but walking and happy to see me."
The relief in Cooper's voice is like that of a mother holding again her lost child.
"I spent a lot of time on the phone with Sonja and thanked her from the bottom of my heart for going back and checking."
Cooper has fed Bella chicken broth and rice every hour or so and she is doing well.
"She was in there four days. It was just miserable. Wednesday was nice, but then it got windy and then it rained, and then there was snow.
Cooper said she is considering getting Bella a collar with global positioning system on it.
"It's pretty amazing she made it through with all the snow and cold temperatures for four nights," Cooper said. "The weird thing is, with so many people on that hill, no one heard her. I think it's a miracle. It worked out real well.
"But I'll never take them hiking on a mountain with snow again. I'm too afraid."
• Contact Rhonda Costa-Landers at email@example.com or 881-1223.