updated 8/12/2008 6:37:55 PM ET 2008-08-12T22:37:55

A dog stood guard over her owner's body for up to six weeks after the man committed suicide on the remote northeastern Colorado plains, authorities said.

The body of 25-year-old Jake Baysinger was found Sunday on the Pawnee National Grasslands about 75 miles northeast of Denver. Cash, his German shepherd, was found beside him, thin and dehydrated but still alive. The dog had apparently survived by eating mice and rabbits, authorities said.

The Weld County coroner ruled Baysinger's death a suicide. The cause of death wasn't immediately determined but authorities found a gun nearby, the coroner's office said Tuesday.

Baysinger was reported missing June 28. An extensive search failed to locate him, but a rancher saw Cash last weekend, went to investigate and discovered Baysinger's body and his pickup.

"At least we know it's over now," said Baysinger's wife, Sara. "We'd been looking for my husband for six weeks, and this isn't how we wanted it to end. At least we can close this."

Cash has been reunited with her and her 2-year-old son, Lane. She said her little boy is "very close to that dog" and happy to see her again.

Investigators said the dog probably kept coyotes away from the body.

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