By Ellen Faye Ann Yabut

It was a thrilling day to explore the Berome Moore Cave cave for Gerry Keene along with five other adults and five children. Everything went well according to plan when one of the kids ran ahead of the group and yelled back to his dad, “There’s a dog in here!”

Photo Courtesy of Associated Press

The father wouldn’t believe his child until they saw an elderly dog lying there, curled up in a ball. “She lifted her head and looked at us but she didn’t respond to verbal commands. She looked like she was pretty close to being done,” Keene recalled.

Keene was quick enough to seek help from his fellow caver Rick Haley who just so happened to be nearby. Since getting out of the cave involved moving through confined spaces and climbing a steep slope, they were aware that Abby, the missing dog, couldn't survive the projected 500-foot journey back to the entrance. Haley’s training in cave rescues proved once again useful when he found a way to bring Abby outside. He pulled out a duffel bag and a blanket from his truck. The dog, who had spent weeks lying in the chilly muck, immediately embraced the warm blanket when she was placed inside the bag. 

However, getting her out was a tougher challenge for the caver, but he did. Haley portrayed it as "sort of a leap-frog kind of thing" on the rocky areas through the small tunnels where, "We would carry her a short distance, set her down, then kind of move in front of her, reach back, pick her up, and put her in front of us," 

Keene, on the other hand, quickly checked the neighborhood if anybody had lost a dog. Sure enough, one of them did.

When her poodle-hound mix went missing in early June, owner Jeff Bohnert had all but given up hope of ever seeing her again, but he was doubtful that a 13-year-old dog would have survived such an ordeal. So when he finally received a call after two months and confirmed that the dog rescued was his Abby, he believed that it was nothing short of a miracle.

The fact that Abby is only a few weeks away from turning 14 makes her story all the more incredible. She supposedly spent the majority of those nearly 60 days alone in a desolate, completely dark, and 58° Fahrenheit (14° Celsius) cave.

According to Bohnert, Abby and his other dog, Summer, would do everything together. On June 9, just like most days, the pair ran away from home in the rural area near Perryville in eastern Missouri. He recalled that the dogs would scurry through the fields, play chase, then head home. 

When Bohnert awoke the next morning, he found that Summer was back home but Abby was not. “They never separate,” he said. He figured something bad had happened and presumed that Abby ended up in the cave after falling into a sinkhole or a hidden entrance. 

After the incident, Haley and Bohnert believe that her own body fat allowed her to live that long without essential food. The latter claimed that Abby typically weighs around 50 pounds (23 kilograms) but that she lost half her body weight in the cave. Since being saved, she has put on weight and begun to restore the voice she most likely lost while desperately barking for help.

Nevertheless, Bohnert knows that Abby’s putting the trauma behind her and is beyond grateful that his dearest dog has found her way back home.

Edited by Quian Vencel Galut