Golden retriever found on side of cliff after going missing for 5 days

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QUESTA, N.M. — For one Albuquerque man, a routine fishing trip turned into a nightmare when he lost sight of his dog in a rugged canyon in Questa last week. That turned into a frantic search against the clock with increasingly cold New Mexico nights.

“If Ellie could tell the story, this would be a movie,” said Austin Mason, the owner of Ellie.

Ellie, a five-year-old golden retriever, means the world to Mason.

“She’s been there through a lot of hard times in life and, as everyone knows, dogs are man’s best friend.”

Ellie goes everywhere with Mason, but their latest adventure took a turn for the worse.

“So we started down the trail heading down this trail and I stopped to show my buddy this little hole that we were going to fish, and Ellie was maybe about 100 yards ahead of us, I didn’t think anything of it, she goes on hundreds of trips with me a year,” Mason said.

Mason soon realized that Ellie had vanished.

“I’m hiking up and down the trail in tears, beating myself up, what did I do… that turned into an all-day search which turned into an all-night search to an all-morning search.”

The search continued for five days, until Mason spotted something on the side of a cliff.

“We started using my binoculars and there she is! There’s my dog, I just got chills and goosebumps and was crying and was so overwhelmed with emotions,” Mason said. “What we had realized is that Ellie had fallen down, what we think, is off of this big ledge, and so we then had to figure out how to get her out.”

Luckily, Mason’s brother had some rope handy.

“We were able to pull her up, little by little, and carry her up this big ledge basically and from there she was sore, she was tired, she was scared.”

A week later, she’s doing just fine. And as for Mason, he’s grateful everything lined up to bring his best friend home. 

“I was just at a loss for words, I can’t know why God put me in that spot when I looked across and happened to see her, I don’t know why I scanned that area,” Mason said.

Mason added that there was an outpouring of support after he posted that Ellie was missing on social media, which led to complete strangers joining in on the search effort to help locate Ellie.