When my daughter, Rachel, was young, she wanted a puppy for years. Eventually my wife and I agreed and in November 2008 we bought her a poodle-hound mix that we named Abby. For most of his life, he was just a normal, happy little dog.
We live in rural southeast Missouri, so there are farms all around us. We have another dog, named Summer, who always accompanies Abby to the countryside. It doesn’t happen all the time, but it does go away from time to time.
Usually, if Abby and Summer don’t come home within an hour, I report it to our neighbors or post a message on Facebook saying to keep an eye on them, but they usually show up again soon. .
On June 9, in the afternoon, they fled as usual. It was frustrating, but I thought to myself, “They’re dogs, that’s what they do. It’s not unusual for them to disappear all day and I figured they’d come back when they were hungry, so I wasn’t sad or worried.
But when Summer came back alone the next morning, I was a little worried. The two dogs were never very far apart, so I began to suspect that something was up with Abby. Then, when dinner time came and he still didn’t come, I knew something was wrong.
I contacted the local police department and our neighbors to let them know that Abby was missing. I was a bit worried at this point; he’s an old dog, so i know he’s not coming back. The weather was hot and I think he might have had a heat stroke and died there.
A few days later, we still hadn’t heard, so I was sure he was gone. It’s sad, but Abby is about to turn 14.
Two months passed and there was no sign of him, so we assumed he would never come home.
Then in early August when we received a text from our neighbors saying that a group of cavers had found a dog in a local cave called Berome Moore Cave.
They told us the dog had the same shock collar as Abby, which we thought was amazing. Eventually I decided to take a look at what they found, mainly to prove it wasn’t our pet.
The cave is about a quarter of a mile from our house, we can actually see it in our field, and our neighbors are convinced it is Abby. After so many months of missing, we didn’t think it was him.
I was driving and I met a caveman named Gerry Keene, who was part of the group that discovered the animal. He showed me the photo of the dog, which he took inside the cave. I can’t believe it. It’s Abbie. I just said, “Wow, that’s my dog. »
So crazy. I thought he was long gone, so I’m impressed he’s still alive. After two months in a cave with nothing to eat, it seemed impossible.
Gerry was unable to free Abby, but luckily he was able to enlist the help of Rick Haley, a trained cave rescuer who was in the area. They were still waiting for other people to help rescue them, so they told me to go home and wait.
The cave is one of the longest in Missouri at approximately 20 miles long, and Abby was trapped about 500 feet inside. Rescuers had to take him away soaked paths and small surfaces. He was able to walk a little but he had to be carried on the most difficult paths.
They put a blanket in a duffel bag and dropped it on the floor where Abby was propped up. They told me that he was very cooperative and just walked away and laid down in the bag. Abby was wrapped and carried through vertical passages, passing between the rescuers, over their heads, as they walked one by one through the cave.
I don’t know how he survived there for so long. There was water in the cave, but as far as I could tell he didn’t eat anything. He had to live on his body fat. When we found him, he was very thin; skin and bones really.
A few hours later the lifeguards called me and said I could take Abby. I was driving and there he was, standing there. He was very weak, but he was able to stand and walk. He was so light, when I picked him up to put him on the truck, he was like picking a feather.
The first thing I did after I got her back was to video call my daughter Rachel, I said, “I have a surprise for you. I turned the camera back to Abby and she was shocked. He asked, “How is he alive! My daughter lives in Texas for school, so I can’t wait to see Abby again this Christmas.
Abby was very happy to come out of the cave. He was quite weak and had been in complete darkness for so long that it took him a while to adjust his eyes. When I brought him home he stumbled a bit and walked sometimes. But it didn’t take long for him to recover.
Now he is fine. He still needs to gain weight, but he is getting stronger. Abby was very happy; he farted, wagging his tail and running around.
I think it’s an amazing story, that he survived this long considering his age and the time he had. Unbelievable.
Jeff Bohnert, 55, lives in Perryville, eastern Missouri, with his wife. He retired last fall.
All opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.
As told to Monica Greep.