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Missouri Dog Rescued from Cave

Rick Haley with Abby2.jpg
Rick Haley
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Rick Haley
Rick Haley with Abby the dog, in the cave

A couple of weeks ago, a group of adults and children were exploring a cave in Missouri when one of the kids found a dog curled up in a ball on the cave floor.  She was emaciated and weak but she did manage to lift her head.  One of the adults called on his friend, Rick Haley, who had training in cave rescues.  He grabbed a blanket and duffel bag from his vehicle so the two men could rescue the animal.

     The lethargic dog seemed to appreciate the comfort of the warm blanket in the duffel bag after the hard, cold cave floor.  They carefully maneuvered the dog in the bag through tight passageways, up the steep five-hundred-foot climb, and an hour later gently brought the animal out into the light of day. 

     When someone circulated a picture of the dog, a nearby neighbor recognized Abby, his 13-year-old pet who had been missing for almost two months.  The Poodle-hound mix was in pretty bad shape, down from her normal fifty-pound weight to about half that.  She also had a very hoarse bark; her owner said it was probably from barking in the dark cave, but no one could hear her.  Since her rescue, she has gained back some of her weight, and her bark is not quite so hoarse.  She is also beginning to wag her tail a bit, a good sign, for a dog that didn’t see the light of day for two months.  Her rescuers believe she survived on body fat and water that was in the cave.  The now almost-14-year-old dog is happy to be back with her family and out of her cold, dark, lonely prison.

     The best guess is that Abby fell into a sinkhole, eventually ending up in the cave.  Letting an animal run free may seem like a good idea – until something happens.  This story is a reminder to all of us to know where your pets are.  It is so easy for an animal to get into trouble, in a place where there is no one to help.  Her human family is thrilled to have Abby back with them, and look forward to helping her recover.  They have a renewed appreciation for their sweet – and hardy – miracle dog, when they’re speaking of pets.

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Mindy Norton has been “Speaking of Pets” on Alabama Public Radio since 1995.