'Loyal' dog found next to Colorado hiker's body survived for 10 weeks by 'eating mice and avoiding bears'

A tiny dog found alive by her owner's body 10 weeks after the pair went missing on a hike showed "dedication and loyalty" to her owner, a rescuer has said. 

Rich Moore, 71, and his 12-pound Jack Russell terrier Finney disappeared on 19 August on a planned hike to Blackhead Peak in the Colorado mountains.

Rescue teams searched the treacherous and steep mountain between the peak and where Mr Moore's car was parked without success, said Delinda VanneBrightyn from Taos Search and Rescue.

When a hunter found Mr Moore's body on 30 October, Finney was still with her owner, despite having lost half her body weight.

Finney is believed to have survived by hunting small animals such as mice while also managing to avoid predators like mountain lions, coyotes and bears, Ms VanneBrightyn said.

"If that dog could talk it would be an amazing story," she said. "We probably could not even believe the story the dog would tell."

A recovery crew was flown in the day after Mr Moore's body was found. Finney was taken to a vet for a check-up and treatment and is now with Mr Moore's family, the sheriff's office said.

Ms VanneBrightyn said they were very glad to return Finney to the family "because they have lost their loved one, but they still have this wonderful, loyal dog".

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Ms VanneBrightyn, who has trained dogs for two decades, said Finney's "magnificent story of survival" was a testament to her dedication and loyalty to Mr Moore.

"Jack Russells are pretty fierce, I have to say, they're tough little dogs."

The hunter found Moore's body about 1.5 miles east of the peak, further away from his car, Ms VanneBrightyn said.

Mr Moore, who was an experienced hiker, died of hypothermia, Archuleta County Coroner Brad Hunt said.

Hypothermia can cause people to become disoriented and confused.