Otis is a big dog.

The pooch, part German shepherd, part black lab, tips the scales at about 80 pounds.

So when Otis went down near the top of the Alpine Lake Trail near Park City Friday, owner Brett Peterson wasn't sure what to do.

The dog was definitely too big for one or even two people to carry down the mountain.

After camping for the night, Peterson considered his options. The dog, who had collapsed and refused to go anywhere and had injuries to his paws, was not getting down off the trail by himself.

Peterson and his 17-year-old son could try to carry Otis, but the hike was stressful enough with full backpacks and hiking gear. Add another 80 pounds and the task seemed impossible.

Then a miracle happened. Seemingly out of nowhere appeared Jeff Eaves and the group of 11-14-year old young men he was supervising from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

With help from some other campers, the group of young men set up a makeshift stretcher for the dog consisting of a tarp zip-tied to tree branches. Then, for the next several hours, the boys and their leaders carried Otis to the trailhead parking lot.

Peterson said he didn't know what he would have done had the helpful young men not shown up when they did, adding that Otis might still be up on that mountain.

The grateful owner has sought medical attention for Otis and said he is glad there is a comradery on the trails in Utah.

The dog was saved and the boys learned a valuable lesson on service.


All photos by Jeff Eaves

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