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Dog saves Colorado man’s life after he is paralyzed in ski accident

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- This November, Leonard Somers wanted one more back-country run before calling it a day recently. Little did he know that that run would be the last he would make for some time.

“I was with my dog, Juneau -- a Siberian husky -- when my skis hit a rock under the snow, sending me tumbling down into a ravine,” said Somers. “A tree root severed my C6 and C7 vertebrate, leaving me without movement below my waist.”

Like all skiers who fall, Somers tried to get up but he couldn’t move anything but his arms. Juneau helped when he began digging snow away from his face. About 45 minutes later, as freezing cold began to overtake Somers, he sent his dog for aid, telling Juneau “Get help!”

A few minutes later he heard others skiing by. Juneau heard their dog and he followed Somers dog back to the accident. Both pups stayed until the other skiers came to find their pet. As fate would have it, one person in the party was a trauma surgeon at St. Anthony’s Central hospital.

“It took them about five hours to get me off the mountain and into a Flight for Life chopper," Somers said.

All the while, Juneau had been laying on Somers legs to help keep him warm. But by the time he left the mountain, his body temp had fallen to about 85 degrees. He is now recovering at Craig Hospital and vows to walk again.

A civil engineer by trade, he says he can’t wait to get back to work. But today, Juneau was the star of the show -- she picked up PETA’s Heroic Dog Award for her "Lassie-like" actions, which no doubt saved Leonard’s life that bitterly cold day.

If you would like to help with all the expenses the dog and dad are facing there is an account set up:

For Benefit of Leonard Somers

Centennial Bank

P.O. Box 2499

Fraser, CO 80442



  • Ryan

    Leonard- We are all sending our love/prayers your way. Keep up the hard work and nothing will stand in the way of your goals.

  • George Reinhart

    Leonard- back in Ohio, we are praying for you. Your mother and I are wishing you a speedy recovery. Love you, praying that your goals are achievable.

  • Carol Banks

    Coolest dog ever. You are an Angel Juneau. Each time I look at you I see lots of Angel kisses on your nose. You are a very special dog and are very loyal. Thank you for saving your Daddy. From the bottom of our hearts. Love you Girl. XOXO

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