View Full Version : Man's Best Friend Saved!

Max Power
12-07-2005, 11:56
I've been reading the forums for a while, but this is my first post. I hope it makes a good first impression. The stories a few days old, but still a great story.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Rangers Rescue Dog from Sinkhole

On Wednesday, November 16th, rangers successfully rescued a trapped hunting dog that had fallen about 70 feet down a sinkhole cave entrance adjacent to the Cades Cove area of the park. The rescue began at 10 a.m. on Tuesday after a phone call the previous night from visitors camping at a backcountry campsite off the Ace Gap Trail in Blount County. The campers reported that they’d heard a dog barking on Monday and went to investigate. About 300 yards from their campsite, they found a 30-by-40-foot hole and determined that it was the source of the barking. The campers made contact with a local builder who was working on a residence just outside the park boundary and asked for his assistance. The builder took a rope and went to the sinkhole with the campers. Using the rope attached to his seat harness, the builder was able to get close enough to the edge to see the dog at the bottom of the sinkhole, about 40 feet straight down, but was unable to get down to it. The builder contacted the park on Monday evening; rangers responded to the location that night, but were unable to hear any response from the dog in the sinkhole. On Tuesday morning, four rangers returned to the sinkhole to investigate further. They could hear no activity from the top of the sinkhole, nor was there a response from the dog. A ranger then rappelled into the sinkhole. The first drop leveled off about 40 feet down, but no sign of the dog was found on that level. Off to the side of the first drop, there was a small opening that dropped down another 30 feet. Using a light, the ranger was able to see the dog lying at the bottom of the second drop. Apparently the dog had walked around during the night and fallen into the second pit. When the ranger called to the dog, he stood up and looked up at him and appeared to be in good shape. The ranger continued the descent down though the small opening. After reaching the dog, he fashioned a makeshift harness around him and held the dog in his arms while the other three rangers used a pulley system to haul them both out of the sinkhole. The dog was emaciated and had some bruising, but was able to walk around. According to the rescuers, aside from being emaciated, exhausted, and sore, the dog appeared to be in pretty good shape. The dog wore a radio collar and identification tag of with owner information. The owner, a Townsend, Tennesse, man, was contacted and the dog was returned to him for proper care. It’s not known how long the dog was trapped in the cave, but the dog's owner said that the dog had "been missing for 16 days" after a hunting trip in the area. [Submitted by Rick Brown, District Ranger]
The Morning Report

12-07-2005, 13:04
Thanks for the report. Nice to be aware of the dangers of night hiking.

12-08-2005, 02:34
Was the dogs owner - the Townsend, TN man - charged for the rescue?? I'm sure that if I ended up lost down a sinkhole/cave I'd have to pay some cash to the NPS to be rescued.
Is hunting even allowed in the park?

12-08-2005, 07:00
I started to abbreviate RnR, but thought better of it Rye.
If the dog didn't pony, expect outrage and perhaps a movement.
I'd hope the rangers had the thought to ask the hunter where he was hunting.

12-08-2005, 12:16
If the dog didn't pony, expect outrage and perhaps a movement.


12-08-2005, 12:39
Pony up da $$, yo
Dogs that ride free are a pox on this country:bse

12-08-2005, 15:32
Odd thing is, the dogs name is actually Spelunker. Ain't that ironic?