Dog Helps Save Woman Stuck 3 Days in Alaska Cold

'Elvis is a little hero'

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Dec 13, 2013 7:52 AM CST

(Newser) – A woman is lucky to be alive in Alaska after surviving three nights of temperatures that sank as low as minus 20 degrees—and she has "Elvis" to thank. Vivian Mayo, 57, was found severely hypothermic early Wednesday, huddled beneath the burned-out hulk of her snowmobile with her small, brown dog Elvis. The dog "really did help save her life," says an Alaska State Trooper spokeswoman, explaining that the pet likely helped her preserve her body heat. Mayo had been staying at a cabin near Denali National Park with her husband, Scott Mayo, 61, but grew worried when he had gone to check on a trap line Saturday and hadn't returned by Sunday, reports the AP.

Hoping to return to her home in Cantwell to get help, Mayo set out on her snowmobile Sunday but only made it about a mile before the machine broke down. Unable to walk back to the cabin due to mobility issues, Mayo withstood the dangerous temperatures for three days until the arrival of rescuers—who were alerted by family members when the couple didn't return home as expected Tuesday night. An airplane and helicopter search later discovered Scott Mayo a few miles from the cabin, where he'd built a fire and was reported in good condition, despite nearly four nights out in the cold. It's unclear how Vivian ignited her snowmobile. Both had been released from a hospital as of yesterday.

A stock photo of a snowy dog (not Elvis).
A stock photo of a snowy dog (not Elvis).   (Shutterstock)
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