DENVER, Colo — Coloradans love their dogs. They come with us to many places around the state, and sometimes into rugged terrain. But, what do you do if your dog becomes sick or injured hiking or skiing in the backcountry?
There's now Colorado-made equipment to get them off the mountains and trails and back to safety. You're in good company this week with Fido Pro.
Paul Hoskinson, founder and CEO of Fido Pro, learned from experience.
"It was gut-wrenching," he said. "I mean, to see my dog injured like that, and knowing that I had done it. It was emotional, and I was really rattled."
He was backcountry skiing with his dog Remy when he clipped the dog with his ski, cutting Remy's leg.
"I've got to have a way to rescue my dog if I'm going to continue to take them with me on these adventures," Hoskinson said. "Whether it be hiking or skiing, or even a short run on a trail."
After a grueling two-hour hike back to the truck with his dog in a backpack, Remy made a full recovery.
But it gave rise to Fido Pro, a line of lightweight dog rescue gear that allows you to lift your dog to safety.
"If you get more than a mile from the trailhead, and you're by yourself, and your dog becomes sick or injured, you cannot arm-carry even a 40-pound dog," Hoskinson said.
Fido Pro's Airlift harness fits in a pouch you can put in your backpack next to a first aid kit. Another product, their Ponza harness, fits around the dog itself.
"This Ponza harness has a deployable airlift built into it," Hoskinson said. "It seems like every year there's a story or two of a dog getting stuck on a 14er or up on a mountain, and search and rescue had to be called."
He said search and rescue procedures vary by county, and some crews will only respond to people needing help, not dogs.
"A lot of times here in Colorado, it's paw abrasion on these peaks around here," Hoskinson said. "They're granite, and the granite can shred a dog's paws."
He said he hears stories of heat-related issues, wild animal encounters, snake bites, or even dogs being scared by thunder.
"We were on top of the mountain and a lightning storm was coming, and my dog went and hid under a rock. Wouldn't move," Hoskinson said, referencing a customer's story. "So, I put him in the airlift and carried him down."
It's the piece of equipment you hope you never need, but are glad you have when you do, to keep your best friend by your side for the next adventure.
If you'd like to learn more about other businesses I've featured as part of our "In Good Company" series, download the free Denver7 plus app to your Roku, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, or Android device.