CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) – “It’s hard to believe, she’s been gone for so long,” Kathy Bohnert said.
Up until this past weekend, they hadn’t seen their pet in two months.
They thought they would never see their 13-year-old dog again.
Now, she’s back safe at home after an adventure no one saw coming.
Jeff Bohnert said the journey began June 9th, when Abby didn’t come home.
“I pretty much knew right away that she probably wasn’t coming back or that she had been injured and couldn’t get back,” Jeff said.
Nearly two months later, the Cave Research Foundation organized around 30 people to map out some Perry County caves ahead of a bigger event in a few weeks.
Gerry Keene, who has been caving for over a decade, said about five kids were with the group.
They walk quickly with excitement and got a little ways ahead in the cave.
“All the sudden you get the kids going ‘Dad! There’s a dog here!’,” Keene said.
Laying in the middle of the cave, they found Abby.
Group member Rick Haley says, they could see she needed help quickly. Both Haley and Keene know cave rescue procedures and sprung into action.
They called authorities, and while they waited, Keene began going around trying to find the owner.
“He walked around the neighborhood knocking on doors, showing a picture on a phone, ‘Hey is this your dog?’,” Haley said.
Once back in the cave, they could see she was malnourished and struggling to move and walk.
They came up with the idea to use a duffle bag to get her above ground.
“I got that bag out, unzipped it, laid the blanket in and the dog at that point walked over and sat in the bag,” Haley said. ”Because the dog recognized that this is the driest, warmest, and softest thing I’ve seen in a long time and I’m just gonna lay on it.”
They slowly worked together to get her to the surface.
“I’d hand her up, he’d set her down, he’d move up, then I’d move up, then we’d hand her up again,” Haley said.
Kathy and Jeff Bohnert can’t believe Abby’s home.
Their daughter Rachel, away at college, is over the moon her beloved childhood pet made it back home.
When she was missing for so long, Rachel lost hope.
When her dad FaceTimed her and told her he had a surprise, she was never expecting to see Abby on the other end of the phone.
“He flips the camera around and it’s her and I was like how is she here,” Rachel recalled. “This is impossible that she’s still alive.”
Jeff said Abby is getting back to her old self.
“She acts pretty normal, she really hasn’t barked yet, I guess she doesn’t have the energy for it,” Jeff said.
The Bohnert family says Abby is very lucky the cavers found her when they did.
“You had the right people at the right place at the right time,” Haley said.
Kathy said they are slowly adding more calories to Abby’s diet to get her healthy. Her body has taken a hit because she spent so long in starvation mode, but the family is hopeful she will make a full recovery.
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