Scott Swift and his family adopted their Alaskan husky, Nanook, as a pet, not expecting him to become a rescue dog for the region. The family lives near the 23-mile-long Crow Pass Trail in Alaska’s Chugach Mountains, where Nanook often disappears to for days at a time patrolling the trails and watching out for hikers at risk. Scott said if a hiker is in danger—falling down a mountainside or swept away by the current in the river—Nanook rescues them and remains with them until help arrives.
Check out the many adventures and rescues Nanook has performed—so far.
Scott and his family had recently lost a pair of beloved dogs to old age when they adopted Nanook, an Alaskan husky puppy. They thought they'd merely added a new pet to the family, but they got more than they bargained for.
Scott used to distribute "missing dog" notices when Nanook disappeared for more than a day or two, but when hikers and area residents began to fill Scott in on Nanook's heroic adventures, Scott stopped worrying.
So adept is Nanook at assisting struggling hikers, he wears a tag on his collar that reads, "Crow Pass Guide" with Scott's and his wife Jennifer's cell numbers on it. Scott and Jennifer have heard from many strangers who had memorable encounters with Nanook.
In June, 2018, 21-year-old Amelia Milling, who is deaf, was on a three-day hike on the Crow Pass Trail. A few miles in, her hiking poles snapped, sending her 300 feet down the side of a mountain. Nanook appeared seemingly out of nowhere to help Amelia, remaining by her side for more than 24 hours until she had recovered enough to resume her hike.
Nanook rescued Amelia a second time when she attempted crossing a treacherous river and was swept away in the current. Nanook jumped into the river, grabbed the straps of her backpack with his teeth and pulled her to safety.
"Of course, the media picked up the story [of Nanook's heroics in rescuing Amelia]," Scott said, "My phone buzzed night and day with calls from TV networks, movie production companies, and magazine and newspaper writers."
"[Once] a woman came up and told me that a couple years earlier, she and [her friend] Lindsey Honemann had been hiking the Crow Pass Trail with friends. Nookie joined their group," Scott said. "Where the path curved, high above roaring Twin Falls, Lindsey slipped on a rock. She slid toward the treacherous gorge below. Until Nookie grabbed her jacket and stopped her. That makes it three lives he has saved so far—that we know of."
"I no longer panic when Nookie disappears for days at a time," said Scott. "Nanook was put on this earth for a reason, and my job is to let him fulfill that mission.
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