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Poodle Reunites With Owner 2 Months After Disappearing As Cavers Find Her 500 Feet Underground
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Dogs, Good News3 months ago

Poodle Reunites With Owner 2 Months After Disappearing As Cavers Find Her 500 Feet Underground

Darkness. You can barely make out shapes in front of you. Are you facing up or down? What are those sounds you’re hearing? Are they near, far? Is something behind you? You cannot look back to check as you’re stuck. Stuck in the never-ending darkness. Energy running low with each passing moment. The only thing keeping you sane is water.

This was the reality of one dog who got lost exploring unknown surroundings and then got swept away by rushing water, deep into the cave. But as tragic as the situation seemed to be, it can be said – this has got to be the luckiest poodle in existence.

Its time in the darkness was at an end, as the pup was miraculously rescued by a group of cavers who came upon her while exploring 500 feet (152 meters) below the surface. The owner of the mixed-breed poodle had lost hope of ever seeing his beloved 13-year-old after she disappeared two months ago. Thankfully, miracles do happen! Let’s get into the details.

More info: Facebook

A mixed-breed poodle was discovered and rescued by expert cavers after finding her 500 feet (152 meters) below surface at the entrance of the Berome Moore caves

Image credits: Rick Haley

Jeff Bohnert found himself in a situation which plagues many pet owner’s nightmares. His beloved poodle Abby had not returned home on June 9. After weeks of searching, not a clue came forth. It’s as if the dog had vanished in plain sight. Jeff lost all hope of ever seeing her again, remembering the 13 years they spent together and grieving time lost.

But life has a lot of twists and turns, just like the underground tunnel system that experienced cavers Gerry Keene and Rick Haley took a group to explore on August 8. The team of around 30 spelunkers were excited to be mapping caves north of Perryville, Missouri, as part of a project for the Cave Research Foundation.

The plan was to go from the Berome Moore entrance and move through a mile of caves and emerge at the Tom Moore entrance, but plans quickly changed when they came across an unexpected dweller trapped 500 feet (152 meters) underground.

The pup named Abby was skinny, covered in dirt and curled on the mud floor, unable to wag her tail. Truthfully, it was a miracle she was alive

Image credits: Rick Haley

Skinny, covered in dirt and curled up on the muddy floor was none other than Abby. Rick described the pup as extremely frail, unable to wag her tail or even whimper. “Dogs can usually only survive a few days without food and water, but luckily there’s ample water in the cave,” he told Daily Mail.

He couldn’t say the same regarding sustenance: “As for food, I can think of nothing. It was evident by inspection of her she hadn’t eaten in a very long time. It was heartbreaking to see this and think about how she endured.”

Rick believed that “Abby was just trying to stay as comfortable as she could. This was hard down there because it’s very wet and it’s 58 degrees (14C) or so,” he explained to NPR.

Gerry Keene and Rick Haley, who’d been mapping the caves as part of a project for the Cave Research Foundation, led the 90-minute poodle rescue mission

Image credits: Rick Haley

The men had to crawl and squeeze through tight passageways to get to the dog, which was no easy feat. “If we didn’t get her out, she would die in there,” Rick said

Image credits: Rick Haley

The group wasted no time – there was a pup waiting to be rescued, after all! One of the members got in contact with the fire department, who rushed to the scene. Thankfully both Gerry and Rick had specialized cave rescue training, although it would be their first time rescuing a dog. Rick explained to CNN that “many of the same principles that you would use for a person you can use for a dog,” like keeping them warm, dry and being careful of any injuries.

The men had to crawl and squeeze through tight passageways to get to the dog, which was no easy feat. “If we didn’t get her out, she would die in there,” Rick told NPR. “It would be a tough, vertical climb to get her out. But we were up for it.” The rescue took 90 minutes in total. The poor canine was reluctant to walk, so Rick placed a blanket in a duffel bag and she stepped in, allowing them to carefully maneuver her out of the cave.

The poor canine was reluctant to walk, so Rick placed a blanket in a duffel bag and she stepped in, allowing them to carefully maneuver her out of the cave

Image credits: Rick Haley

While Abby sat cozy and secure in the bag, Gerry and fire chief Rob Cahoon went on a mission to find her owner. Knocking on each and every door in the neighborhood and showing the homeowners a picture of Abby, they soon found one neighbor who recognized the pup and directed them to Jeff.

“I was absolutely astonished that she was still alive,” Jeff said, explaining that the cave is about two miles away from his house. “She’s a real survivor.” We can only imagine the excitement both of them felt at the moment of their reunion. The lost pup was returning home, but not before a trip to the vet.

After taking Abby’s picture, they went around the neighborhood, trying to find her home, which didn’t take long. Jeff Bohnert had lost hope of ever seeing Abby again

Image credits: Rick Haley

Once she received a checkup and some treatment, she was cleared to go home. According to Jeff, she’s been recovering slowly but steadily, getting back to her former self each passing day. The rescuers have a lot of hope for her, noting the moment they offered her a beef stick: “Abby seemed ready to go up for another adventure!”

Abby must’ve been blessed by the Gods, as her story is one of miraculous luck. Rick explained how easy it would have been for the pup to drown in the “vertical and very tight” cave passage, which often fills up with water. “At times, there was likely too much water. There was heavy rain in the time period she was there,” he said.

“I was absolutely astonished that she was still alive,” Jeff said, explaining the pup had been missing for nearly 2 months. “She’s a real survivor “

Image credits: Rick Haley

It’s unclear how the dog ended up so far in the cave. On the day of her disappearance, Abby was playing off leash with Summer, Jeff’s other dog. “Only one dog came home,” he told NPR. “She hangs pretty closely with Summer, so I knew something was definitely wrong when she didn’t come back.” He put the word out, but the searches yielded no results.

The rescuers and her owner believe that the most likely scenario was that Abby had set her gaze upon a small animal, like a mouse or raccoon, and decided to chase it. The hunter’s instinct could have brought her to the caves and quickly made her lose track of her surroundings. They speculated that flooding caused by heavy rains may have brought her deeper into the cave system.

After a visit to the vet, Abby was cleared to return home and continue her healing journey. The rescuers were treated to ice cream that evening

Image credits: Rick Haley

“It’s a good feeling” to participate in the rescue, said Rick. He also credited the work of the team of cavers working with the Cave Research Foundation: “if there had been all 30 of those cavers [on site], you would have found 30 people facilitating this rescue.”

Abby is now able to take short walks on a leash, and she seems happy to be reunited with her pal Summer and the family cat, Fuzzy. “We’re all really thankful to these two guys who brought her out,” Jeff said, noting that he gave a gallon of ice cream to the cavers to help them cool off after the rescue.

If this isn’t the happiest ending ever, I don’t know what is!

If this isn’t the happiest story, I don’t know what is, and others agree. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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Deborah Harris
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Well I for one am happy that the dog was found and saved, bless her heart and those of her rescuers too.

Lakota Wolf
Community Member
3 months ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

How about we don't let our dogs run around off-leash unless they're in a fenced dog park/yard or closely and constantly observed by their owners? I'm guessing since the owner himself stated "only one dog returned home" that he lets his dogs run around unfenced and off-leash on a regular basis. Which is dangerous for the unleashed dogs (cars/other vehicles, toxic plants, and poison baits set out for vermin/other animals). It's also dangerous for other leashed dogs walking with their owners, for all outdoors cats in the area, for small children playing in their yards, and all other wildlife in the area. And for those who would claim their dogs "love kids" and "love other dogs" - even the sweetest doggo can get startled or scared by something and can bite out of fear.

Beth L
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

That snoot is very poodle-shaped. It looks like it has some shepherd in it, though.

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Deborah Harris
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Well I for one am happy that the dog was found and saved, bless her heart and those of her rescuers too.

Lakota Wolf
Community Member
3 months ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

How about we don't let our dogs run around off-leash unless they're in a fenced dog park/yard or closely and constantly observed by their owners? I'm guessing since the owner himself stated "only one dog returned home" that he lets his dogs run around unfenced and off-leash on a regular basis. Which is dangerous for the unleashed dogs (cars/other vehicles, toxic plants, and poison baits set out for vermin/other animals). It's also dangerous for other leashed dogs walking with their owners, for all outdoors cats in the area, for small children playing in their yards, and all other wildlife in the area. And for those who would claim their dogs "love kids" and "love other dogs" - even the sweetest doggo can get startled or scared by something and can bite out of fear.

Beth L
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

That snoot is very poodle-shaped. It looks like it has some shepherd in it, though.

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