Dog, missing 2 months, found alive inside Missouri cave

Aug 15, 2022, 12:13 AM | Updated: Aug 16, 2022, 5:02 pm
This photo provided by Gerry Keene shows a 13-year-old dog named Abby that was found by cavers on A...

This photo provided by Gerry Keene shows a 13-year-old dog named Abby that was found by cavers on Aug. 6, 2022, at a cave in Perryville, Mo. The dog’s owner said she had been gone for nearly two months. She is regaining weight and healing. (Gerry Keene via AP)

(Gerry Keene via AP)

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

Bohnert doubted it, but still curious, he went to the cave site near his rural Missouri home. That’s when he saw the picture one of the rescuers took.

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

Making Abby’s tale even more amazing is the fact that she’s just weeks shy of turning 14. Yet somehow, she managed to survive nearly 60 days out on her own, apparently much or all of it in a barren, pitch-dark, 58-degree Fahrenheit (14-degree Celsius) cave.

Abby and Bohnert’s other dog, Summer, do everything together, including misbehave.

On June 9, the pair ran away from home, Bohnert recalled. It had happened before, and in the rural area near Perryville in eastern Missouri, it was generally no big deal. The dogs would scamper through the fields, maybe chase something, then head home.

When Bohnert awoke the next morning, Summer was back home but Abby was not.

“They never separate,” he said. “I figured something bad had happened. I mean, she’s old. She could just get overcome by the heat.”

Bohnert posted about his missing dog on Facebook, reached out to neighbors and contacted police, but no one had seen Abby.

On Aug. 6, Gerry Keene and five other adults, along with five children, had just entered the Berome Moore Cave, planning a day of exploring. One of the kids ran ahead of the group and yelled back to his dad, “There’s a dog in here.”

“Their dad was like, no there’s not,” Keene said.

Yes, there was.

“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 pretty close to being done.”

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 back to the entrance, especially since it was through tight passageways and up a steep incline.

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

Still, getting Abby out was tricky given her fragility.

“It was critical that we not give her any rough handling,” Haley said. In the rocky areas through small passageways, “We would carry her 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.” He described it as “kind of a leap-frog kind of thing.”

Soon after initially finding Abby, Keene briefly went to a few homes nearby to see if anyone was missing a dog. One neighbor reached out to Bohnert, who lives close enough to the cave site that he can see it from his home.

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

To his amazement, she did, and roughly an hour-and-a-half after the rescue began, she was out. One of the rescuers gave Abby a bite of beef.

“She almost ate his finger off,” Keene said. Almost immediately, she began to perk up.

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

After that, Haley and Bohnert believe she hunkered down, able to essentially live off her own body fat.

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

Abby normally weighs about 50 pounds (23 kilograms), Bohnert said, but he guessed she lost half her body weight in the cave. Since her rescue, she has regained weight and started to get back the voice she likely lost barking for help.

She’s also wagging her tail again, showing she’s putting the trauma behind her.

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

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Several thousands of protesters from the far right and far left gathered to rally against the count...
Associated Press

Thousands rally to demand Czech government’s resignation

PRAGUE (AP) — Thousands of protesters rallied again in the Czech capital on Wednesday to condemn the Czech government’s handling of the energy crisis and its support for Ukraine. Despite a national holiday, the protest that united the far right with the far left was smaller than the some 70,000 people who gathered for the […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Greek police: Campus was ‘staging ground’ for crime gangs

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — A raid on a sprawling university campus complex in Athens led to the arrests of 32 people who are suspected of belonging to gangs that carried out armed robberies, drug trafficking and other offenses, police in Greece said Wednesday. The suspects are not students but allegedly used old dormitory rooms on […]
1 day ago
This image shows a live performance of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" in Atlantic City, N.J., on O...
Associated Press

Do the ‘Time Warp’ again — ‘Rocky Horror’ show will travel

NEW YORK (AP) — Grab your toilet paper. Bring a flashlight. Don’t forget a newspaper — or your fishnets. A touring, interactive version of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is hitting the road to celebrate the cult film’s birthday with screenings, live shadow casts, the invitation to be inappropriate and one of its original stars […]
1 day ago
FILE --A Porsche 911 GT3 with Touring Package is on display during an event of German car maker Vol...
Associated Press

Volkswagen’s offering of Porsche shares nears completion

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Volkswagen was nearing the finish line Wednesday as it readied the sale of shares in luxury carmaker Porsche ahead of an expected market listing that will rank among the largest such offerings in European history. The German automaker estimates the deal could reap as much as 9.5 billion euros ($9.08 billion) […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Ugandan military helicopter crashes in eastern Congo

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A Ugandan army spokesman confirmed Wednesday that the crash of one of the country’s military helicopters in eastern Congo. The spokesman, Felix Kulayigye, told The Associated Press “we are still waiting” for more details about the crash earlier this week. Uganda late last year deployed forces in eastern Congo to pursue […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Schwarzenegger visits Auschwitz in message against hatred

OSWIECIM, Poland (AP) — Film icon Arnold Schwarzenegger visited the site of the Auschwitz Nazi death camp on Wednesday, meeting a Holocaust survivor and the son of Holocaust survivors to deliver a message against prejudice and hatred. The “Terminator” actor and former California governor viewed the barracks, watchtowers and remains of gas chambers that endure […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Dog, missing 2 months, found alive inside Missouri cave