LITTLETON, Colo. — A German Shepherd named Rambo is being credited with saving three hikers lives last Sunday morning. The group of 13 hikers, and the dog, were hiking Mount Bierstadt when a storm hit out of nowhere. The dog passed away but his owner Jonathan Hardman and the other hikers suffered non-life threatening injuries.
Doctors who treated the survivors hit by lightning said the German Shepherd took the brunt of the bolt and very likely saved the people around him.
“It was beautiful the whole way up. I didn’t even have to put on a long sleeve shirt until I was almost at the top,” Hardman said.
The group of 13 were hiking Mount Bierstadt, one of Colorado’s most popular climbs, when the weather turned dangerous.
Hartman and his dog were hiking with friends Mary Prescott, Matt Dayer and Will Chandler. The group began their hike early, hoping to reach the summit before noon. They hiked to the top by around 10:30 a.m., taking photos until about 11 a.m., when they started to make the descent down.
At about 500 feet below the summit, the weather suddenly turned bad. A flood of hail came down, with the hikers having nowhere to hide. After that, they don’t remember much.
“All I remember is, just a light … just a bright light hitting the ground and then I just fell. I got up and everybody was on the ground crying and screaming,” said Chandler, Prescott’s fiance.
Hartman had been helping his dog when the storm hit. After the strike, he awoke, unable to move his hands, arms or legs. It took him a moment to regain his composure, when he started to search for his dog.
“I looked up and saw him just lying there,” he said.
Prescott, Chandler and Hardman all suffered injuries. Hartman took a direct hit from the lightning, while Chandler and Prescott were knocked off their feet.
Prescott has a laceration on her forehead requiring more than 40 stitches, along with scrapes and bruises down her side. Chandler has bruises covering his face. Hardman, who was directly hit by the lightning, has scratches and wounds all over his body, including a wound at the top of his head where the doctors think the lightning hit him.
The doctors believe that the dog took the hardest hit from the charge, likely saving the life of his owner and the hikers around him.