• The rescuers trekked the steep Sierra Nevada terrain to rescue the dog
  • The authorities had initially thought the dog was dead 
  • The dog was taken to a veterinarian before the owner was tracked

A California family's pet dog that got separated from its owners during the August Caldor Fire in the Sierra Nevada mountains was reunited with them after being found in deep snow.

A backcountry skier had spotted the animal in the west of Tahoe on Dec. 16, and had posted its pictures online. The officials from Tahoe PAWS and TLC 4 Furry Friends, a nonprofit organization, then responded to the spot and managed to pinpoint its position.

Russ, a pit bull-terrier mix, had fled as the fire inched toward South Lake Tahoe last year, ABC 10 reported. The owner of the dog was forced to evacuate his house and lost the canine during the mayhem. He had reported the dog missing, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

"It was assumed that Russ had been lost for good," TLC 4 Furry Friends officials said in the Facebook post.

See posts, photos and more on Facebook.

Leona Allen, an experienced animal tracker, who volunteers with TLC 4 Furry Friends, and her partner Elsa Gaule, trekked the steep terrain to get near to the dog, but they feared it was dead. "So I walked up, and all of a sudden he opened his eyes and lifted his head, and I screamed. It was just involuntary," Allen told the San Francisco Chronicle.

The TLC 4 Furry Friends Facebook post said the dog was first unable to move and started growling at the rescuers. Allen and Gaule managed to lure the dog down the mountain, wrapping it in a blanket on a sled. Russ was in good health, Allen told the publication.

The dog was reportedly taken to a veterinarian, and its owner was tracked with the help of its microchip.

The canine was reunited with its family, who live in Riverside County, within days, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

"When contacted, the owner was ecstatic to find out that his dog was alive!" TLC 4 Furry Friends officials told KTLA-TV.

"As a rescue organization… this is what we’re supposed to do," Allen said. “I keep reliving the moment when he opened his eyes and lifted his head, and just the joy and elation inside of me was overwhelming. It’s one more life that gets to live happy and warm and safe."

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel/Dog Breed
Representative image. Pixabay