Expats Take On 12-hour ‘Brutal Hike’ Just to Save Injured Dog

April 10, 2019 Updated: April 15, 2019

Animal lovers are often willing to do anything to save an injured animal, and two men in Taiwan are no exception—they hiked for six hours just to save a dog.

In late March, Seán McCormack received a photo on Facebook, sent by a woman of a 1-year-old dog curling up outside a guesthouse in Taroko National Park in Taiwan. The woman told McCormack, an independent dog rescuer in Taiwan, that the dog lost his front right paw in a trap, and his front left paw was injured.

Posted by Asia for Animals Conference Borneo on Sunday, November 8, 2015

McCormack thought that he could drive to the location and decided to rescue the dog, which was later named Sandy.

“The lady said, ‘It’s a six-hour hike,’ and I thought, ‘There must be a back road. There must be because there’s a guesthouse there. And Google Maps said I could drive there,’” McCormack told The Dodo.

Sandy, as we named him, was VERY happy to see us

Posted by Seán McCormack on Tuesday, March 27, 2018

However, McCormack didn’t know that the only way to the guesthouse was a hike up a steep trail.

He had to contact his friend, Ross Tweedie, co-owner of Taiwan Adventures, a trekking company, for help.

Tweedie agreed.

“It’s a brutal hike,” Tweedie said. “It’s not one for beginners, and Sean was in the beginner category. He told me that he hadn’t done anything like that before.”

Look who we caught up with this morning—Sandy, the star of our recent The Dodo video!We met at the vet where Sandy was…

Posted by ACT—Animal Care Trust on Tuesday, September 18, 2018

McCormack had no idea what he was getting himself into. It was a challenging hike, and he almost gave up trying to climb up the mountain.

When the duo finally reached the guesthouse after the tough hike, a timid Sandy decided to play hide and seek.

So it took them a while longer to find the dog, which was hiding under some plastic chairs.

Sandy has been a resident of The PACK Sanctuary for four years after being rescued because of mange and a nasty gin-trap…

Posted by ACT—Animal Care Trust on Saturday, October 29, 2016

“This little dog was under there, wagging his whole back end,” McCormack recalled.

The duo noticed that Sandy’s left paw had been sliced by a snare, revealing the bone.

They knew Sandy needed help urgently and trekked down immediately—another six hours—with Sandy inside Tweedie’s backpack.

Guys Hike For Hours To Save Dog When Everyone Said It Couldn't Be Done

These guys started hiking at 3 a.m. to save a dog trapped hours away in a remote mountain village 👏👏👏

Posted by The Dodo on Friday, March 29, 2019

The 12-hour grueling hike finally ended when they reached the bottom and sent Sandy to the vet.

In order to save Sandy’s life, sections of his front legs were amputated, but he did “amazingly well” after the surgery, McCormack said.

We promised a follow-up video on Sandy, so here it is! He’s trying on off-the-shelf, locally made prosthetic legs. If we can’t find the perfect fit for him here, we’ll order custom-fitted prosthetics from the US. Coming soon: Bob, Ross, and Seán answer some of the most common—and appalling—questions in the comments of The Dodo rescue video. #thedodo #ACTforAnimals #dogrescues #Sandy #dogamputee @taiwan_adventures

Posted by ACT—Animal Care Trust on Friday, September 21, 2018

“We were both proud that we’d gone to this huge effort,” McCormack said of the rescue. “When you transform the life of an animal, especially one that isn’t likely to get help from anyone else … it’s a very fulfilling thing to do.”

“It all came together,” Tweedie added. “There were so many things that could have gone wrong, but it didn’t. It was very much worth every second and every pound of sweat.”

Sandy has since been adopted by Bob Chau of Merlot Café & Bistro in Taiwan, according to an Instagram post.

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Kudos to the duo for expending such a huge effort to save Sandy’s life!