ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – Leonard Somers knows exactly why dogs are considered man’s best friend. The Grand County resident credits his dog Juneau with saving his life after a ski accident.

Somers, of Tabernash, was backcountry skiing near Berthoud Pass at the beginning of November with his 5-year-old Siberian husky keeping him company.

“That area where I skied, I had probably skied 50 times,” Somers said Monday.

But that day was different. On his way down the mountain, he hit a rock and crashed into a ravine.

His neck hit a tree trunk, causing a severe spinal injury. Somers was buried in the snow.

“I went to get up and realized I couldn’t move,” he said.

For 20 or 30 minutes, Juneau lay on top of him to keep him but when the pair heard voices in the distance, her behavior changed.

“She actually ran off and they had a dog with them,” Somers said. “She somehow or another brought the dog back to me.”

That dog’s family followed as well and found Somers and got help to get him off the mountain.

Somers said Juneau not only saved his life that day but also in the ones that followed.

“When I first woke up, I wasn’t sure if I was happy to be alive or not,” he said.

But with Juneau at his side, he has persevered through physical therapy at Craig Hospital.

“It helps me remain hopeful that I’ll walk out of here or someday I will walk again.”

Juneau had no special training at the time of the accident. Now she’s a certified service dog, even joining Somers for his rehabilitation treatments at Craig.

Additional Resources

Donations to help Somers can be sent to:

For Benefit of (FBO) Leonard Somers
Centennial Bank
P.O. Box 2499
Fraser, CO 80442


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