Missing Dog Who Spent 2 Months In Cave Is So Happy To Be Home Again

After spending months alone at the bottom of a 12-foot pit, a 13-year-old dog named Abby has finally returned home to her family.

An unsuspecting group of recreational cavers discovered the missing senior pup deep in Missouri’s Moore Cave system during a project weekend with the Cave Research Foundation.

“She was just curled up on the floor,” said Rick Haley, one of Abby’s rescuers. “All she could do was raise her head.”

When they first discovered her, the group’s lead caver, Frank Keene, took a photo of Abby, then exited the cave and began recruiting help for the fully vertical rescue.

First, he contacted Deputy Fire Chief Rob Calhoun, who went door to door asking neighbors if they recognized the dog in the photo.

“One of them said, ‘Yeah, I think that’s the neighbor’s dog right over there,'” Haley said. “That’s how they got their hands on [son propriétaire].”

Keene has recruited Haley to help with the rescue—a dangerous mission for both the rescuers and the pup. Abby had been in the cave for a long time, and the only way to get her out was to lift her through the narrow opening she had originally fallen through.

“I’ve rescued cave dogs before, but those dogs hadn’t been there long and could be taken out,” Haley said.

For this mission, Haley had to find a way to lift Abby off the ground without causing her too much stress. On a whim, he grabbed an empty gym bag and lined it with a fluffy blanket.

Haley placed the duffel bag on the cold rock floor next to Abby with the top unzipped. The nervous dog surprised her two rescuers by slowly climbing into the gym bag on her own and nearly falling asleep.

“It was warm and dry and mild,” Haley said. “She was very comfortable.”

Haley and Keene zipped the duffel bag with Abby’s head sticking out, then slowly began the process of guiding Abby vertically out of the cave.

The exit from the cave was difficult. The rescuers had only one hand line, which they secured at the top and dropped vertically through the passage, to pull themselves and Abby up.

They took turns climbing up in front of each other, hand in hand, as they placed the duffel bag on the nearest ledge, then descended to lift Abby. After 90 minutes of climbing, they finally made it to the top of the pit with the duffel bag.

Deputy Fire Chief Calhoun came in and grabbed the lifeguards’ duffel bag and held Abby in his arms as he carried her out into the daylight.

The pup’s pupils were still very dilated after the months she spent in total darkness and she was extremely thin, but Haley found no other injuries when he did a quick medical evaluation of Abby after the rescue.

Abby’s father showed up at the scene of the rescue soon after and was shocked to see his dog after two long months without her. He took her home and immediately started breastfeeding her to restore her health.

Haley ran into Abby and her owner again exactly one week after the heroic rescue. She was still very thin and weak, but he noticed a big change in the puppy.

“She barked at me when I came in,” Haley said. “For a while she wasn’t even barking, but I think she’s on her own now.”

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