When Federico Dossena, 57, set out for a hike in Val Radena, Northern Italy, on 25 August, he was not alone. Walking alongside him was his dog, a crossbreed called Kelly. When hikers came across his body hours later, on a hiking trail, Kelly was still by his side – and refusing to let anybody come near.
The hikers immediately called emergency services, who arrived to the area via helicopter but were also unable to approach Dossena’s body. The helicopter had to go back to pick up a vet, who was then able to sedate Kelly. Only then were emergency services able to approach Mr. Dossena and confirm his death, which likely occurred due to a sudden heart attack. They then proceeded to take both the man and his dog off the mountain.
This occurred only days after another story of loyalty between man and dog made headlines in Italy, with a similarly tragic outcome. Two women, Rosa Corallo and Veronica Malini, were hiking in Valmalenco, near Sondrio, Northern Italy, along with a dog, when the dog fell into the icy waters flowing from a nearby glacier.
Both women got in the water to try and help – but neither of them was able to fight the strong current, and their bodies were recovered the next day. The dog has not been found.
Sadly, such hiking accidents are not overly uncommon in Italy: in July last year, a man fell to his death while trying to save his dog, who had fallen into a crevasse during a hike in the mountains of Abruzzo, central Italy. The dog also passed away.
A similar situation, albeit with a far happier ending, occurred in July 2020 at Bull Point, Devon, after a walk went awry: after German shepherd named Marley tumbled over the edge of a cliff, the owner climbed down to help his dog – but found himself unable to get back up the 40 foot cliff. Both were rescued by RNLI volunteers.
Coxswain Carl Perrin said at the time, “We would like to remind everyone to please keep their dogs on leads if they’re walking close to cliff edges and remember the best thing to do if your pet gets into trouble at the coast is don’t enter the water yourself, instead call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.
“We’re all very glad there was a positive outcome in this case.”