Jeff Bohnert got the surprise message he was hoping for. His dog Abby, a 13-year-old Poodle-Hound mix, was found alive after missing for nearly two months.
A group of Missouri spelunkers, led by Gerry Keene and Rick Haley, was mapping the Berome Moore Cave north of Perrysville, Missouri, when they stumbled upon Abby curled up in a ball inside the cave on August 6, 2022.
Bohnert reported the dog missing to the authorities and posted about it on his social media page after Abby failed to return home on June 9. He said that Abby and his other dog, Summer, are always out for adventures chasing and exploring the rural area near their home and would always return.
“They never separate. I figured something bad had happened. I mean, she’s old. She could just get overcome by the heat,” he said.
On August 6, when Gerry Keene was exploring the Berome Moore Cave as part of a Cave Research Foundation project, a member of their group reported seeing a dog ahead of them resting on the mud floor.
“She was just lying there curled up in a ball,” Keene recounted. “She lifted her head and looked at us but didn’t respond to verbal commands. She looked like she was pretty close to being done.”
Keene then exited the cave and showed pictures of the dog to residents of nearby houses to look for the owner. That was when Bohnert received a text message from one of his neighbors that Abby might have been located.
Bohnert immediately rushed to the entrance of the cave and met Keene to confirm that it was indeed Abby.
Keene then initiated a rescue mission with the help of Rick Haley, another experienced caver.
The operation took an hour and a half to complete, and it involved descending several hundred feet and maneuvering into very tight spaces. “The entrance to the cave is a little technical. It’s vertical in places. It’s windy. It’s very tight,” Keene said.
The rescue equipment they had was also meant for humans, so they devised a way to pull Abby out by using a duffel bag and a blanket like a package.
Upon reaching Abby, they found the dog in a malnourished condition and showing no emotion, but otherwise, in good shape. “She was just trying to stay as comfortable as she could, which was hard down there because it’s very wet and it’s 58 degrees (°F) or so,” Haley recounted.
Out In The Open
Upon reaching the entrance of the cave, the crew finally made it out safely, with Abby being carried in the duffel bag. It took some time for Abby to adjust to the light after being in the dark for two months, but she is in good spirits.
One of the crew gave Abby a beef stick which rejuvenated her a little. “She almost ate his finger off,” Keene declared.
After the ordeal, Abby is now happily recuperating with her owner. Bohnert guessed that Abby might have fallen through a sinkhole or a hidden entrance. She lost about half her weight and is slowly regaining it back.
Haley also kept in touch with the family, who reported that Abby is showing signs of recovery and is wagging her tail again.
“It’s amazing how she’s springing back already,” Bohnert said. Perhaps, another adventure?