Rick Haley said he found the dog along with fellow cave explorer (also known as a “spelunker”) Gerry Keene while exploring a cave system in Perry County, Missouri, last week.
The Tom Moore Cave system where the dog “Abby” was found is located between Brewer and Perryville, Missouri, and is the second longest cave system in the state at more than 22 miles long, Fox2 reported.
Mr Haley told his Facebook followers in a post on Thursday: “Here’s a feel good story of survival. I’m at a caving project in Perry County where a handful of groups entered the cave. One group discovered a dog in the cave.”
Because of the dog’s health and awkward setting, Mr Haley said he and his fellow spelunker carried out a rescue of the dog, who “was not in good shape”.
“We package the dog in a duffel bag with her head sticking out,” Mr Haley explained on Facebook. “This was to protect her and the rescuers as she would likely struggle.”
The dog was moved upwards about 500ft with Mr Haley and Mr Keene passing her between them in “a very tight, awkward, vertical climb, handing her hand to hand upward to the surface.”
“She was totally cooperative,” the cave explorer added along with photos and video of the rescue operation. He added: “The pictures kinda tell the story.
According to the spelunke, the elederly dog “was happy to be out! The owner claimed her and said she had been missing SINCE JUNE 9th! (You do the math)”.
It remains unclear how “Abby” got inside the cave or how long she had been there, although the rescuers were able to find the dog’s owner by going door-to-door locally, Fox2 reported.
The owner reportedly said “Abby” had not been since 9 June and that they thought the dog was gone for good.