Abby, a 13-year-old dog who was missing for two months, has been rescued after cavers heroically pulled her out of a complex cave system.
Rick Haley and Gerry Keene – both of whom have specialized cave rescue training – led the operation inside of Missouri’s second largest cave, Berome Moore, Haley told USA TODAY Sunday. They used a duffle bag and blankets to protect the dog as they maneuvered their way out.
Abby was moved 500 feet through a “very tight, awkward, vertical climb, handing her hand to hand upward to the surface,” Haley wrote on Facebook.
On Saturday, Haley said he returned to the cave and found Abby’s footprints near the entrance she likely came in from — a 12 feet pit. Abby was 200 feet inside the main passage.
Haley said the owner claimed Abby had been missing since June 9, meaning she could’ve been in the cave for up to two months.
Haley, who’s been caving since about 1990, and Keene were there with a team of around 30 to map a cave north of Perrysville, Missouri, as part of a project for the Cave Research Foundation when the mission came up.
Although Abby was “in poor shape” and malnourished, Haley said, the dog had no apparent injuries.
Berome Moore cave is around 21 miles in length, according to Missouri Caves and Karst Conservancy.
Camille Fine is a trending visual producer on USA TODAY’s NOW team.