Dog missing for 2 months found alive in Missouri cave

Jeff Bohnert had all but given up on seeing his poodle-dog mix again after he disappeared in early June. Two months later, he received a text from a neighbor: People exploring a nearby cave found a dog. Could it be Abby?

Bohnert doubted it, but still curious, he traveled to the cave site near his rural Missouri home. It was then that he saw the photo taken by one of the rescuers.

“I said, ‘that’s my dog,'” Bohnert recalled Monday.

What makes Abby’s story even more amazing is the fact that she’s only a few weeks away from turning 14. Fahrenheit cave (14 degrees Celsius).

Abby and Bohnert’s other dog, Summer, does everything together, including bad behavior.

On June 9, the couple ran away from home, Bohnert recalled. It had happened before, and in the rural area near Perryville in eastern Missouri, it was usually not a big deal. The dogs trotted around the fields, maybe chased something, then went home.

When Bohnert woke up the next morning, Summer was home but Abby was not.

“They never separate,” he said. “I thought something bad had happened. I mean, she’s old. She might just be overwhelmed with the heat.

Bohnert posted information about her missing dog on Facebook, contacted neighbors and contacted the police, but no one had seen Abby.

On August 6, Gerry Keene and five other adults, along with five children, had just entered Berome Moore Cave, planning a day of exploration. One of the children ran ahead of the group and yelled at his father, “There’s a dog here.

“Their dad was like, no, there isn’t,” Keene said.

“She was just lying there, curled up in a ball,” Keene recalled. “She lifted her head and looked at us but she didn’t respond to verbal commands. She looked like she was about to be finished.

Keene enlisted the help of another caver who happened to be there, Rick Haley. They knew Abby couldn’t make the estimated 500 foot walk to the entrance, especially since it was through narrow passages and a steep incline.

Haley was trained in cave rescues and he retrieved a duffel bag and blanket from his truck. They put the blanket inside the bag, then the dog, who immediately took the warm blanket after weeks in the cold mud.

Still, getting Abby out was tricky considering how fragile she was.

“It was critical that we didn’t handle her roughly,” Haley said. In rocky areas through small passages, “We carried it a short distance, set it down, then moved past it, reached back, picked it up, and placed it in front of us.” He described it as “a kind of leapfrog”.

Shortly after initially finding Abby, Keene briefly visited a few nearby houses to see if anyone was missing a dog. A neighbor contacted Bohnert, who lives close enough to the cave site to be able to see it from his home.

He went there assuming it couldn’t be Abby – how could a 13-year-old dog survive such an ordeal?

To her surprise, she did, and about an hour and a half into the rescue, she was out. One of the lifeguards gave Abby a bite of beef.

“She almost ate her finger,” Keene said. Almost immediately, she began to straighten up.

Bohnert thinks Abby ended up in the cave after falling into a sinkhole or hidden entrance. Haley said there were paw prints everywhere, indicating that she tried to get out first.

After that, Haley and Bohnert believe she squatted, able to live on mostly her own body fat.

“I think she was just in preservation mode,” Bohnert said.

Abby normally weighs around 50 pounds (23 kilograms), Bohnert said, but he guessed she had lost half her weight in the cave. Since her rescue, she has gained weight and started to regain the voice she probably lost while barking for help.

She also wags her tail, showing that she is putting the trauma behind her.

“It’s amazing how she’s already bouncing back,” Bohnert said. “She’s acting like herself again.”




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