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Letters to the Editor

Thank you, kind stranger, for carrying my friend’s 100-pound dog across a boulder field

  • Author: Amanda Bowler
    | Opinion
  • Updated: December 2, 2017
  • Published July 21, 2017

Ryan Pepp hauls Bocephus, a 100-pound bull mastiff, across the boulder field on the Reed Lakes trail near Hatcher Pass on July 15. (Photo courtesy Amanda Bowler)

Amid the generally somber tone in the news, I think it's more important than ever to highlight good people and honorable actions. I would like to share my experience with a stranger on the trails helping out a fellow hiker in need.

A group of friends and I were hiking Saturday, July 15, to Reed Lakes in the Hatcher Pass area when my friend's dog Bocephus, a 100-pound bull mastiff (which I was responsible for on this hike) had a colossal meltdown about two-thirds of the way through the boulder field on the way to the lakes. I grossly overestimated his hiking abilities. Scared, he hunkered down and subsequently refused to move in either direction. Making matters worse, several groups of hikers started to report an aggressive grizzly in the area near the lakes that had already charged at people and their dog.

Most people walked by us as we tried, in hot potato fashion, to maneuver the giant dog over giant-er rocks between the three girls in our group. A small group of hikers stopped to inquire about our obvious struggle. It turns out they were the ones charged by the bear at the lakes. Upon realizing that we definitely needed help, one in the group — we would later come to know his name as Ryan Pepp — casually took off his pack, slung the dog over his shoulder and carried Bo back across the boulder field and out of harm's way.

I honestly am not sure what we would have done without this person's help, as there was no other exit to the hike and we were exhausting ourselves making minimal progress moving the dog on our own. I don't know anything about this person other than he is with the U.S. Army in Anchorage and that he is a genuinely kind person. I thought his mother should know.

Thank you for sharing this story.

— Amanda Bowler

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