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Woman's Best Friend
Yi-Wyn Yen
January 08, 2007
Thanks to her faithful dog, an adventure racer survives a frigid 52-hour ordeal
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January 08, 2007

Woman's Best Friend

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Thanks to her faithful dog, an adventure racer survives a frigid 52-hour ordeal

AROUND NOON on Dec. 13 pro adventure racer Danelle Ballengee and her dog, Taz, went for a casual eight-mile trail run outside Moab, Utah. After an hour Ballengee slipped on an icy patch and fell 60 feet down several rock faces. With Taz, a 3 year-old mutt, by her side she crawled for a quarter mile before the pain forced her to stop. Says Ballengee, 35, "I kept telling him, 'Taz, I'm hurting. Maybe you can find someone to help me.'"

The first night, with the temperatures dipping into the 20s, Taz curled up on Ballengee's stomach. The next day the dog began leaving for long stretches. On the third day a member of a rescue party spotted Taz barking frantically and followed him down a trail for five miles into a remote canyon. Ballengee broke into tears when she heard the rescuer's ATV approach. "I wasn't ready to die," she said. "I was thinking of having to face a third night. I was starting to get depressed." A week after her rescue Taz and Ballengee—who is expected to recover fully from a shattered pelvis, internal bleeding and frostbite—were reunited at a Denver hospital. There the four-time winner of the Pikes Peak Marathon gave her pooch a well-deserved scratch behind the ears.

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