COTOPAXI, CO -- The coroner told Deanna Lorenz her father died on September 29. Her dad, a 62-year-old who had been battling Alzheimer's, died during the night, out in the cold, five days after he had wandered away from his mountain home with his two Golden Retrievers.
The search had started in the hills north of Cotopaxi only a few hours after he disappeared on September 24. Days and weeks of searching turned up nothing.
In the end, it was a hunter who happened to stumble upon the body of Gary Lorenz on October 20.
"I was sitting in (Dad's) living room when the neighbors came up and told us that he had been found," said Deanna.
That wasn't the only news they shared with her that day.
"They said, Gary's been found. And the dogs… the dogs are alive," she said.
Eventually, the news from the coroner arrived, the news about the time and date of Gary Lorenz's death. That's when they put it all together.
The dogs were with Gary when he died. And they had stayed with him for another three weeks, guarding his body from who knows what. They had never left his side.
Gary had named the two dogs Merry and Pippin after the two hobbits from the Lord of the Rings series.
"I mean, look at their feet," joked Deanna. "They're hobbits for sure."
When the hunter came upon Gary's body back in October, it was Pippin who was the most protective.
"Pippin was right by dad and wouldn't allow anyone close to him," said Deanna.
These days Pippin appears to be the most changed by the entire experience. He used to be a little aloof, says Deanna, now he's more stoic, more disciplined.
Sandee Lorenz, Gary's widow, calls the two dogs her "angels."
"I truly believe that had the hunter not found them the dogs would have stayed (with Gary) until they had taken their last breath," she said. "To know that they were with him when he passed from this world to the next, that he wasn't alone… I wanted to be there when he did that, but the Lord let him in that direction."
|Liveleak on Facebook|