On August 7, 2018, Samantha Orr and her mom Jennifer were driving and chatting while on a family trip to the Rocky Mountains in Colorado when tragedy struck.
A big rock fell on the road right in front of the car, causing 43-year-old Jennifer to swerve and their vehicle to fall 600 feet down a hillside off Iron Chest Road in Chaffee County.
“We were just driving along having a conversation and the next thing we knew we were going over the edge,” Samantha, then 21, recalled of the terrifying moment.
Unfortunately, Jennifer didn’t make it, and Samantha suffered severe injuries. She had displaced ribs and a compressing of her vertebrae.
Also in the jeep at the time was their one-year-old Goldendoodle named Bentley. Samantha said she saw the dog fly out of the vehicle when the jeep first rolled. According to her family members, they saw him run down the hill after the fatal crash.
After Samantha was airlifted from the scene, the search for the missing dog started. Although she had no idea what happened to Bentley, she knew that the dog was alive somewhere. So, she created the “Bring Bentley Home” Facebook page to help find him.
“My mom and my dog were my best friends,” Samantha told KOAA.
Two weeks had gone by, and yet there was no sign of Bentley. But Samantha remained hopeful.
“We know he is still out there and scared,” she wrote in a Facebook post. “We need to get Bentley back home to Kansas to his grieving family.”
A man named Joseph Strattman from northern Colorado came across an ad on Craigslist about the search for Bentley. Joe drove hours across the state to help with the search and became the first person to spot Bentley.
The Good Samaritan left food stations near the area where he saw the elusive dog, hoping it would attract him.
Samantha met with Joe 19 days after the accident, and together with a group of volunteers, they went up to the mountains to the place where Bentley was seen.
”From that moment, there was no turning back. Joe was my living guardian angel Saturday. He safely led me up the mountain, kept me calm and positive, everything I needed in that moment. At times he was a human stepping stool for me when I had no foot placement while climbing the mountain on all fours,” Samantha recalled.
After hours of hiking, Samantha and Joe saw Bentley in the distance. At first, he was hesitant to come towards them. Even after putting out some food and a new toy, he still refused to come near.
“It’s momma,” Samantha can be heard pleading in a video recording of the moment. “Good boy … come, come.”
It took some time, but Bentley was eventually convinced to move towards his owner. Finally, the two were reunited after 19 days.
Samantha said that Bentley was dehydrated and malnourished, but he was unhurt—a true miracle. The pair returned to their home in Kansas, and the dog settled back in wonderfully.
Bentley was as goofy, fun, and sweet as ever. He even gained a baby sister after his breeder offered the Orr family a puppy. They named the sweet pup Buena.
While nothing could cure the pain of losing her mother, getting Bentley back was one less loss to endure for Samantha and her family.
“Sometimes I watch him sleeping, flopped over on his back without a care in the world and imagine what he must’ve seen and done during those days. I can’t even begin to guess, but I’m so, so proud of him,” she wrote on her blog.
Learn more about this story in the video below.
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