updated 05/07/2014 AT 7:35 AM ET
•originally published 05/07/2014 AT 11:30 AM ET
Buddy wasn’t a service dog, but he served his owner until the day he died.
The golden retriever was found in Colorado, guarding his 81-year-old owner’s body from coyotes after Robert Blake had perished during a cross-country skiing trip Friday afternoon.
Blake was reported missing after failing to check in with his wife, Marlene. A mountain rescue team found the retired veterinarian’s body, with Buddy next to it, in a “protective stance.”
“There are a large number of coyotes in the area, and Buddy refused to leave Mr. Blake s body until we spent some time coaxing him to trust us,” Sheriff Bill Masters, of San Miguel County, told KRQE.
Blake, a lifelong outdoorsman who enjoyed hiking, hunting and fishing, in addition to skiing, opened some of the first veterinary practices in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he and Marlene lived. Even into his retirement, Blake spent time assisting animal rescue charities.
While Blake’s wife says her husband’s GPS tracker assisted in finding him after he went missing, she made sure to note that, “[Buddy]’s the real hero in this.”
“I couldn’t make it without him. I could not.”
Like us on Facebook for more stories like this!