It was meant to be – Saving Riley

Sometimes we come across people, events or things unexpectedly – and there’s a reason for it.

Back in June 2010, this man Zak Anderegg was hiking in the Arizona Canyon when he came across an abandoned dog all by itself in a pothole 350 feet underground!


As Zak was on his own, he could not finish his rescue the same day. He left whatever he could with the dog until he could come back to rescue him. Zak knew he did not have much time as the dog was in poor condition – he was starved and dehydrated.

No one was available to help Zak so he went back to rescue the dog himself – the rescue was an amazing feat of sheer determination and a great need to save a life. When he got Riley to safety, he took him to the vet – Riley was in such poor state and the vets did what they could to save his life.  images-21

Thankfully Riley survived and today he is at home with Zak and living a happy normal life. riley

He carries no pain from his experience in that canyon, only enthusiasm for the next adventure. He is a wonderful teacher.

He was there for a reason for their meeting. Since then Zak had written a book “Rescuing Riley, Saving Myself” and his message to everyone –

” … I hope you feel compelled to take action the next time you witness an animal or person suffering abuse at the hands of another. As a child I desperately needed someone, anyone, to stick up for me and provide some degree of safety in my life. Not having that has left challenging scars that are proving difficult to heal. So much damage can be avoided by just taking action against abuse instead of ignoring it, for whatever the reason. An innocent child or animal’s life is more important than an excuse.

c1102d_76f7a113f0ce4244b72a13f6b03d8a9f.png_srz_210_320_85_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_png_srzMay’s comment: Beautiful story.  I know Darcy rescued me too – our meeting was not as dramatic as Riley and Zak’s but in our own way – she saved me from the depths of self-orientation.

I have been looking at Riley’s Facebook page and I take this quote from someone who wrote a comment after watching the video –

“After the creation of the world, the Great Spirit decided to separate the world of the animals and the world of man. And so he caused a great chasm to start upon the plains, the animals on one side and man on the other. And the chasm grew wider & deeper, and at the last moment, just before the gap would become so wide that it would forever separate man from the rest of the animals and be impossible to cross, Dog jumped across and stood with man.”

How apt – that’s why they are what they are to us.

Ever since Darcy came into my life, I have been able to experience love in a another way and at a another level. How lucky we are to be dog lovers.


  1. Maggie

    Well said May. We are very lucky. What a truly uplifting story.x.

  2. Sylvia

    This story and video does not leave my mind! It is Unfathomable that any living person could leave a helpless, feeling being in such a situation. That this little pup was found and rescued by this lone adventurer, who needed rescuing himself at just the right time, tells me that there is a higher power who watches over all creatures great and small. We are the guardians for all those that cannot speak or care for themselves so bless all of those who care enough to risk life and limb for all the Riley’s in the world. My husband and I rescued our Miami Malteses from going to a shelter and everyday that we look into their eyes we wish we could do it for a hundred more! Well done Zak! Darcy and May thank you for sharing the story!!

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