Marley, a rescue dog in Flagstaff, Arizona, knows how to pay it forward. The Labrador-mix is being heralded as a hero after leading emergency responders to a hypothermic hiker who was lost in the Coconino National Forest during a late April snowstorm.
John Paul Roccaforte, Marley’s owner, said that it was a little after 1:15 a.m. on April 17 when Marley went outside and then refused to come back in, barking relentlessly and running into the woods. After going after Marley to get him inside, Roccaforte quickly realized what his two-year-old pup was trying to tell him. “I heard moaning and a cry for help, so I went down to the voice and found a hiker,” Roccaforte says. “After seeing how bad of shape he was in I ran back up and called 911 immediately. Marley stayed out the entire time.”
Once medical aid arrived and stabilized the hiker, Roccaforte was able to tell officers about Marley’s brave actions and thank them for theirs. “After the ambulance left, one of the police officers came back up to me and said, ‘I think Marley is the hero in this one,’ ” Roccaforte says. “That was a neat thing to hear.”
Roccaforte says that he and his family adopted Marley when he was a puppy from the Second Chance Shelter in Flagstaff. He doesn’t have any rescue training — just normal behavioral training that most puppies get — but Marley has always had “an extra-keen sense about him” and is “very aware” according to his owner. “He’s a mixed-bred Navajo reservation dog and doesn’t have special training, so this surprised me a little bit.”
Roccaforte said that after the rescue, Marley was rewarded handsomely. “We showered him with treats all weekend and gave him lots of extra love and walks — he even got a steak.” But his family doesn’t think that Marley is letting it go to his head. “You can tell that he didn’t think too much about it. He was just being his regular old self, doing his job.”