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Hiker Rescues ‘Happiest’ Dog That Was Trapped In A Cave For Three Weeks

Written by: Adri Sandoval
Adri Sandoval is the Special Projects Manager for iHeartDogs and iHeartCats. Her work has deepened her love for animals, fostering a strong passion for rescue and animal advocacy.Read more
| Published on June 7, 2019

What is the coolest thing you ever found while on a walk? For some, it’s a twenty-dollar bill or a lost mitten. One Florida hiker made an incredible discovery on a recent journey. A dog went missing three weeks earlier and her humans could not find her anywhere. Luckily, the hiker heard her on a recent expedition through a remote area of forest in Florida and discovered this scared, lost girl.



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Shocking Discovery

Joe Dunn loves exploring his home state. The central Florida resident blogs about his adventures and shares stories on his social media channels.

Recently he visited the Withlacoochee State Forest in Levy County. During his trek, Dunn was surprised to hear a whimpering animal.

“It’s a sound you don’t like to hear. Really disturbing, makes you really sad to hear,” he told WFLA.

Dunn had hiked several miles to a cave in the middle of the wilderness. He could not believe what he saw when he looked into the cave.

“She was trying to get our attention, she looked up at us, trying to jump through the cavern, trying her best,” he said.

Dunn wanted to rescue the frightened dog, but he did not have the necessary equipment to reach her.

A Call For Help

Dunn rushed home to figure out what he could do to save the pup in distress. He posted the story online, asking his followers for help. Luckily, Dunn cultivated a large following on his social accounts. The response was swift and heartwarming.

Good Samaritans from Rhino Staging volunteered to help. Their work and training made these volunteers experts in technical stage rigging. Perfect for getting to someone out of reach. They traveled from across central Florida to help.

Once assembled, the group hiked back to the cave where the pup waited anxiously. When she saw the team, her tail started wagging. She knew help had arrived. The dog was twenty feet below. So one of the rescuers, Alex Nardone, rappelled into the cave. He put the dog in a harness and slowly pulled her out.



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She immediately drank water that her rescuers provided and was more than happy to accept affection and attention from them, as well.

Dunn said, “The dog was so happy. She just rolled around on the grass, wanting her belly rubbed. She was the happiest animal I’ve ever seen.”

Luckily, the pup wore a collar and they were able to contact her human. They found out her name was Sally and she had been missing for three weeks.

“Going through all this, it made me feel really rewarded, helping another life survive. To help something good happen in this world,” Dunn explained.

Cheers to Joe and Sally! Watch this incredible survival and rescue story below.

Featured image c/o Florida Trailblazer Instagram

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