When someone is in need, Montanans are known for stepping up to lend a hand, and in this case, two Great Falls rescue organizations teamed up to help a Helena man search for his missing dog, Hercules.
Hercules and his owner John Bliss went up into Shep's Gulch west of Townsend on April 11 to go shed hunting for elkhorns. Hercules, a rescue, was new to the wide-open space and got excited while on the scent and disappeared into the mountains.
Bliss went back to the area every day searching for Hercules when Bella Dea Rescue Foundation learned about the search. In one day, the Bella Dea team organized a group of seven to ride into the mountains on horseback to help.
Janet Fulmer, founder of Horses & Hearts Entwined, also joined in. “We are going to try riding up and see if one of us can end up locating Hercules and get him back to his owner."
“My heart goes out to the owner. I’m an animal lover, I have dogs. I would be absolutely devastated if my pet was missing and not know where they're at out in the wilderness is just scary. Some people have limited resources they’re not able to go out and search on horseback and do things like we’re able to do. Part of the Foundation's mission is to be be a public benefit and benefit members of our community and assist when and where we can,” said Angielynn Yonce, the founder of Bella Dea Rescue.
Bella Dea and her community made the trip from Great Falls to Whitehorse Road to assist Bliss in a seven-hour search on April 17.
“Whether it’s Great Falls, Helena, I’ve been up in Plains, I’ve been in Eureka, I’ve been down almost to the Wyoming border. When it comes to especially the horse people and animals, that’s I think where we all step in and we’re all in it for each other, We’re there for each other as well,” said Fulmer.
Bliss is grateful for the support. "It’s soothing to know people care about it that much. There’s still humanity in the world that people round up and volunteer their time. He’s part of the family, you know, people say sometimes they’re just pets but they’re not, they’re part of your life, your best friend. Always there for you no matter what happens."
Bliss describes Hercules a big baby who doesn’t have a mean bone in his body.
The community search for Hercules was not successful, but for Bliss it’s not over. Bliss is offering a reward to anyone who returns Hercules home. To contact the family with information call 860-753-1878.