Missing Colorado Hiker Josh Hall's Dog Found Alive, Bringing a Sign of Hope to Family

Happy has been found in search for missing Colorado hiker, Josh Hall, 27
The Boulder County Sheriffs Office

Josh Hall, 27, started a hike at the Hessie Trailhead near Nederland at 9:30 a.m. with Happy and was supposed to be back in time for a 5 p.m. online class, Hall's mom, Laura Vulkson told the Boulder Daily Camera.

As the search continues for a Colorado hiker who has been missing for nearly two weeks, his dog was found alive on Thursday, bringing renewed hope to his loved ones that he is still alive, according to a report.

“Happy, Josh's dog, was found today between the 40 and 41-mile markers of Peak to Peak Highway,” The Boulder County Sheriff’s Office announced on their Twitter page. “The pup has been reunited with family and is getting some much-needed food and love. Please still be on the lookout for anything associated with Josh (clothing items, black leash, etc.).”

Josh Hall left his Arvada home with his Rhodesian Ridgeback, Happy, for a hiking trip in Boulder, Colorado on Feb. 3, according to his mother Laura Vukson. Vukson told the Boulder Daily Camera that her 27-year-old son started a hike at the Hessie Trailhead near Nederland at 9:30 a.m. with Happy and was supposed to be back in time for a 5 p.m. online class. She said that her son tried to hike Devil’s Thumb in January, but was not able to after Happy wanted to turn around, making him more determined to tackle it again.

Happy was reunited with his family after the woman who located him called the number on Happy’s dog tags. Vukson said he was hungry and had looked like he lost about 10 pounds but did not have any frostbite and seemed in good health.

“This has renewed my hope that maybe Josh made it, and I would give anything to make that true,” Vukson told the Daily Camera.

Boulder County sheriff’s spokeswoman Carrie Haverfield said rescue officials are working to determine what clues Happy can provide them about Hall’s whereabouts. 

One of the challenges she expressed was that Peak to Peak Highway is miles away from Hall’s last known location, and with the time that elapsed, Haverfield said it is possible the dog had gone quite some distance.

But Vukson said she did not believe Happy,  who has been known to get temporarily distracted, would leave his best friend for very long.

Hall's vehicle was found at the trailhead the night he went missing, the Boulder County Sheriff's Office said. They said Hall’s cellphone last pinged near the Devil’s Thumb Lake Trail/Diamond Lake cutoff at about noon on Feb. 3. 

At least 70 rescuers have been involved in the search for Hall. The sheriff’s department performed ground searches using skis, snowshoes and snowmobiles, and aerial searches. 

On Feb. 8, the sheriff’s office issued a new release they had to suspend the search, Denver7 News reported.

“After multiple days of searching, we have made the difficult decision to suspend ground search efforts, until such time as new information surfaces, or until snow melt occurs, increasing safety and searching becomes more feasible,” the statement said. 

Hall was last seen wearing a green khaki jacket, dark hat, a gray or green backpack, and had a black leash, according to investigators.  Anyone with information is asked to contact Boulder County Dispatch at (303) 441-4444.