PHOTOS: Dog Lost For 4 Months Rescued From Snowy California Hillside

Photo: Getty Images

While evacuating from the Caldor Fire in early September, Ricardo Rodriguez was convinced he would never see his lost dog again.

Rodriguez was on a camping trip in Lake Tahoe with his friends and 3-year-old pitbull-mix, Russ, when the dog was startled by someone and ran away.

As the Caldor Fire destroyed homes and businesses, Rodriguez was forced to leave the area without Russ.

"After months of not hearing back from anyone, I assumed he was in good hands with a different owner," Rodriguez told CNN, "I was hopeful that one day he would return."

Then, on December 16, a skier near Twin Peaks noticed a dog bundled up in the snow near a tree.

The nonprofit group Tahoe PAWS & TLC 4 Furry Friends, which works to search and rescue missing or lost animals, was called onto the scene.

Two volunteers, Leona Allen and Elsa Gaule, made their way up the steep hill in below-freezing temperatures.

After getting Russ to come to them, they grabbed him and slowly made their way down the snowy hill.

When they made it to safety, the officer on the scene took Russ to the vet.

Despite being alone through fires and freezing weather for four months, Russ was deemed completely healthy.

On December 26, Russ was reunited with Rodriguez.

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