German Shepherd falls into sinkhole and rescuers work for 72 hours trying to save him

July 28, 2017 9:34 am Last Updated: July 28, 2017 9:34 am

 

When Maverick the dog went missing from his home one day, his owner was afraid the 12-year-old German Shepherd may have fallen through the ice and into the frozen lake. It was February in Parkville, Kansas, and the cold weather only added to the urgency to find him.

“My biggest fear is he had drowned,” Lisa Van Valkenburgh told CNN.

The frustration and panic set in when there was no sign of their beloved dog anywhere.


Maverick was not in the lake. He was at the bottom a sinkhole; afraid, alone, and fighting for his life.

The Van Valkenburgh family, who all went looking for him when they realized he was missing, was distraught and fearing the worst. The frustration and panic set in when there was no sign of their beloved dog anywhere. But they weren’t about to give up, and it’s a good thing they didn’t. Their persistence led them to a clue.

Lisa heard a faint howl coming from under the ground.

Lisa heard a faint howl coming from under the ground and figured Maverick must have somewhere near the road she was walking; probably stuck in a drain pipe in the ditch.

“I jumped down frantically searching,” she said. “A man stopped to help me when he saw a sinkhole at the side of the road.”

Efforts to dig him out began immediately.


Once Maverick had been discovered and buried alive, efforts to dig him out began immediately. Lisa’s husband and son joined forces and started digging. Maverick was trapped and could do nothing to help himself. He was weak and the mud at the bottom of the hole anchored his legs mercilessly rendering him unable to move at all.

There was a good chance that the sinkhole might cave in.


The family worked fast and furiously,  but also cautiously. Once they realized there was a good chance that the sinkhole might cave in if they tried to pull their dog out, they called for help.

 “They had to dig out under Maverick to release the suction the clay had on him.”


It took two hours for the rescue team to dig Maverick out, but they were successful. “They were awesome,” said Lisa. “They had to dig out under Maverick to release the suction the clay had on him.”

An x-ray showed that Maverick had ingested a large amount of clay.


He had spent 72 hours in the hole, and any dog would have been lucky to survive under those conditions, much less a dog at the advanced age of 12.

Rescue workers and the family rushed the limp and lifeless Maverick to the local veterinary hospital. After sixty minutes of trying to stabilize him, the vets treated him for severe dehydration and carefully cleaned all of the muck and dirt from every part of his body. They also discovered that a tooth had punctured his lip and broke off, likely during his fall into the hole. An x-ray showed that Maverick had ingested a large amount of clay as well. He was sent home with a prescription of antibiotics to rest and recover.

“It still for the life of me shocks me that I found him.”


Maverick was one lucky dog, just as the Van Valkenburgh’s were one lucky family. Maverick made a slow but full recovery and was happy to reunite with all of them, including the other family pets; three additional dogs and a cat!

He was given a stern warning to never break away from his electric fence collar again, and then cuddled and loved up by everyone.

“It still for the life of me shocks me that I found him,” said Lisa.