Spelunkers Find Dog 500 Feet Inside Missouri’s 2nd-Largest Cave System After Going Missing for 2 Months

A team of spelunkers were mapping a sprawling Missouri cave system when they stumbled on an emaciated senior dog that somehow had fallen into the cave and become trapped.

The group were surveying the Berome Moore cave system—the second largest cave in the state—in Perry County when they were compelled to undertake an unexpected rescue operation.

The cave is long and arduous—some 24 surveyed miles long—and likened to an underground creek. It is partially flooded, totally dark, and requires wetsuits and dive gear. For those who know what they’re doing, it’s manageable.

Experienced project caver Rick Haley, 67, was on hand in case something went wrong.

The team was exploring a door-to-door section of Berome Moore. That early August weekend, a group of parents who were there with their kids stumbled on the dog about 500 feet in, far below ground level, in the Tom Moore cave section of the system.

“Hey, dad, there’s a dog in the cave!” one of the kids said, as Haley recalled.

(Courtesy of Rick Haley)

They snapped a picture of the dog, left a flashlight by her, and exited. Caver Gary Keener, part of the survey team, fetched Haley and said, “We need to do a cave rescue of a dog.”

Haley said, “Okay,” and made a makeshift dog carrier out of a duffle bag. The two went in, traversed a tight corkscrew series near the entrance, and then descended 400 feet more before reaching the dog.

She looked lethargic and malnourished, but otherwise had no injuries or gangrene.

Haley tried to get her to walk. She took a few steps and stopped—she wasn’t going any further; though she had no qualms about curling up in Haley’s warm, dry duffle bag and blanket.

“She identified that as, ‘it’s soft, it’s dry, and it’s warm,’” Haley told The Epoch Times. “She was looking for comfort any way she could.”

But she smelled horrible, he recalled.

(Courtesy of Rick Haley)

(Courtesy of Rick Haley)

The pair of cavers conducted a straightforward rescue, hand to hand, throughout the ascent, eventually surfacing.

Haley described her condition as “heartbreaking.”

Upon reaching sunlight, she started pepping up, realizing she was on the surface. Her eyes had dilated in the darkness underground, so she couldn’t see yet.

They then handed her to Fire Chief Bob Cahoon, who went door to door to nearby residences, eventually finding the dog’s owner, Jeff Dohnert.

(Courtesy of Rick Haley)

Dohnert said the dog, Abby, was his, though he hadn’t seen her since June 9. He posits she spent the entire last two months underground.

During that time, she’d lost half her body weight, going from 50 pounds to 25 pounds.

Haley thinks Abby was chasing a raccoon and she fell down a 15-foot pit into the cave system, which was littered with raccoon scat. The pit was actually near another entrance 200 feet away, opposite where they entered.

Abby, a 13- or 14-year-old senior dog, is now coming around, gaining her strength back, Dohnert said. She’s started barking again and getting back to being her old self.

Haley credits the project team surveying Berome Moore for saving the day, without whom the discovery and subsequent rescue wouldn’t have happened.

They have been pulling data to map the enormous cave system, which will serve useful to locals who need to understand the lay of this vast natural subterranean formation.

What do you think?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings

State Trooper and Motorist Spot Dog With Broken Pelvis in I-75 Ditch, Give Her Water, Shade, a New Home

Texas Family Dog Went Missing 3 Years Ago, but Is Finally Found 1,200 Miles Away in Indiana, Reunited